Destiney Philoxy becomes UMass women’s basketball’s all-time leader in assists and games played

Philoxy makes Minutewomen history against Missouri

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Kayla Wong / Daily Collegian

By Michael Araujo , Collegian Staff

It’s a rare and remarkable accomplishment for any player to become No. 1 all-time in any category. On Saturday night, Destiney Philoxy did. Twice.

The first record was broken when the Massachusetts women’s basketball team officially tipped off against Missouri at 5 p.m., as Philoxy became No. 1 in all-time career games played for the UMass (8-2) women’s basketball program. Playing in her 124th game as a Minutewomen, she passed Hailey Leidel, who previously held the record during her 2016-20 tenure.

As if one was not enough, Philoxy smashed another record the same night. She made history again when she became the all-time assist leader for the UMass women’s basketball program after dropping her 579th dime donning the maroon and white.

The record was previously held by Sabriya Mitchell, who finished with 578 assists during the 1994-98 seasons.

The record-breaking dime came in the third quarter, starting when Sam Breen kickstarted the fastbreak after swiping the ball from a Tiger, and pushed the ball up the court. Running down the court, Philoxy received the ball and then dumped a no-look pass down low to Angelique Ngalakulondi who finished the layup and clinched Philoxy’s record-breaking fourth assist of the night. Philoxy finished the game with 18 points, six assists, four rebounds and one steal.

“[Philoxy] is a cornerstone, the foundation, there’s no question about it,” head coach Tory Verdi said. “Five years ago now when she first walked on campus, I didn’t know if she’d make it past 30 days. Now it’s five years and she’s obviously matured and has done unbelievable things and she definitely left her mark in our program.”

Philoxy has been a fundamental part of the UMass women’s basketball program’s growth over the recent years. In Philoxy’s freshman year, the Minutewomen finished at .500 with a 16-16 overall record, and a 7-9 conference record as the team lost in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals. Now, Philoxy is an A-10 tournament champion and led the program to its first NCAA tournament in 24 years.

“I’m super proud of what she’s done, and she’s not finished,” Verdi said. “Huge congratulations to her and her accomplishments.”

Philoxy’s first three assists of the night were all finished by Breen. The first assist came when she found Breen for a mid-range jump shot to tack on the Minutewomen’s first points of the game. The duo connected twice more in the first quarter with Philoxy distributing and Breen scoring, both on a layup and a 3-pointer. The pair nearly cemented the record after Philoxy hit Breen, who, before taking a few dribbles, turned around and nailed the fadeaway jump shot off the glass, but Philoxy was not credited with the assist.

Even down nine points with just 14 seconds remaining, Philoxy refused to quit. She fired off a quick 3-pointer before being hit by a Missouri defender and got the foul call as the shot splashed into the net. Cool, calm and collected, Philoxy walked up to the charity stripe, buried the free throw and completed the four-point play.

“We never give up,” Verdi said. “You continuously fight regardless of the adversity that you face. Even though we didn’t win today’s game, we still played UMass basketball.”

Michael Araujo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @araujo_michael_.