Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Ber’Nyah Mayo’s double-double not enough to aid UMass past Harvard in WNIT second round

15 points and 10 assists mark Mayo’s third career double-double
Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team 2022-2023 season has come to a bitter end.

UMass (27-7, 14-2 Atlantic 10) lost in regulation 89-87 to Harvard, a team that the Minutewomen beat 77-76 in Cambridge on Nov. 18. Despite the tough loss, Ber’Nyah Mayo ended her junior season on a high note and dropped a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists.

The Wilmington, Delaware native’s 10th assist came when she drove into the paint and whipped around 180 degrees to Sam Breen for a wide open 3-pointer. The triple was part of a 12-2 run that cut the Crimson (19-11, 9-5 Ivy League) lead to four halfway through the fourth quarter.

The double-double was the third of Mayo’s career. It was her first double-double with assist totals instead of rebounding, and her first since her 17-point, ten rebound effort against Harvard on Nov 12, 2021.

Heading into the locker room at halftime, Mayo had five points and four assists as UMass trailed by eight. In the third quarter alone, Mayo notched five points and four assists.

Mayo fueled the Minutewomen’s third quarter momentum with an instantaneous spark. Running around the arc, Mayo handed the ball off to Sydney Taylor who swished the 3-pointer. Mayo then proceeded to intercept a lackadaisical inbound pass by the Crimson and dished it to Breen who banked home a right handed layup.

Two minutes later, Mayo got her third assist of the frame with a flashy behind-the-back dime to Destiney Philoxy who scored an acrobatic layup high off the glass.

In the final minutes of the third quarter, Mayo put her defender on the floor with an ankle-breaking step-back crossover before pausing and drilling the 3-pointer.

While it wasn’t the picture-perfect ending UMass had hoped for, Mayo was one of many bright spots this season. In her 2022-2023 season, she averaged a career-bests in points per game (12.6), assists (3.8), steals (2.4) and free-throw percentage (.717).

With zero Division I offers coming out of high school, Mayo earned her stripes every step of the way.

“She’s just fearless,” head coach Tory Verdi said of Mayo. “When I was out watching her in AAU she did the same things. She’d score and get and-ones, and she was so competitive and feisty. Her energy was infectious, and I was like, ‘Man, that kid has that ‘it’ factor.’”

Commonwealth cornerstones Breen and Philoxy each played their final game in the maroon and white. Mayo shared love and appreciation for her veterans via her Twitter.

With two of the team’s primary scorers and most vocal leaders leaving the program, Mayo will be tasked with taking on an even larger role than in previous years. According to Verdi, Mayo will be ready for the challenge.

“The balls in her hands and that’s where it’s going to go. We’re going to be a bit more guard oriented next year. Obviously we’re losing a huge piece in [Breen] and we’re good with that,” Verdi said. “We have one of the most dynamic scorers in the A-10 with [Sydney Taylor] coming back and [Mayo]. [Mayo] needs to take a bigger role and a lot of responsibilities are going to be placed upon her and I know that she’ll gladly accept that.”

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

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