UMass pulls away from the Ramblers on the road, 76-59

Minutewomen show their ‘want to’ in second half


Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

By Rachel Toth, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team pulled away late in its contest against the Loyola Chicago Ramblers, showing its strength in the second half, eventually winning 76-59.

With being new members to the Atlantic 10 conference, the Ramblers’ (6-10, 1-2 A-10) struggled to keep up with the Minutewomen’s (12-4, 2-1 A-10) speed throughout the game. The Minutewomen put up 14 points on the fast break to Loyola Chicago’s two.

Both teams started off messy on offense, with no fluidity or quick passes connecting between teammates. UMass tried for entry passes that were either intercepted or deflected. The Ramblers did not take advantage of the Minutewomen’s eight turnovers in the first half, only converting four points.

“I think we got to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” head coach Tory Verdi said. “At times, I’m like ‘score the ball,’ and then we’re making these passes and we’re trying to thread the needle. Sometimes we make it difficult for ourselves.”

This sloppy style of basketball changed early in the second half, but only for UMass. The Minutewomen did not get to the charity stripe once in the first half, but as the final buzzer sounded, they were 20-20 from the line.

“I thought we had a better sense of urgency, especially in the second half,” Verdi said.

Sydney Taylor, ended the first half with zero points, going 0-7 from three. She turned up the heat in the second half and ended the game with 15 points and three 3-pointers. Her energy was apparent during the entire game, leading the team in rebounds, snagging eight and contributing four assists as well.

“It was great to see [Taylor] knock down some threes. I thought [Taylor’s] threes were timely. She looked really good attacking passes and knocking those shots down,” Verdi said.

Sam Breen stayed consistent in both halves for UMass, finishing with 23 points and six rebounds. Breen continued to lead her team from all areas of the floor, going 3-4 from behind the arc.

“[Breen] kept us afloat in the first half offensively,” Verdi said.

The Ramblers presented a zone defense throughout the game, but the Minutewomen still found a way to break it, tallying 22 points in the paint. UMass’ final score was boosted by shooting 45 percent from the three, yet it did not rely on shots from the outside to put it on top.

“We want to have a balanced scoring attack. We want our posts to duck in and get high percentage shots right around the rim. So it’s not like just because we see zone we want to just start chucking the ball up from three. Never do we want to be just one-dimensional,” Verdi said.

The Ramblers could not keep up with the swiftness and intensity of the Minutewomen, shooting 3-12 from the three and 4-9 from the line in the second half.

UMass has a week to recover until it’s onto its next A-10 opponent, facing the Saint Joseph’s Hawks at home on Jan. 14. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

Rachel Toth can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @RachelToth46.