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

Sam Breen becomes single season scoring leader

Breen surpasses Sue Peters record of 587 points in a single season
Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

In an evening that saw the end of the Massachusetts women’s basketball team season, Sam Breen earned another accolade that cements her status in a Minutewomen jersey and her campaign for possibly the best player in program history. After passing Sue Peters’ record for career points on senior day, Breen’s sixth and final bucket on Monday gave her the single season record for most points scored in a season for UMass (27-7, 14-2 Atlantic 10) with 589 in 34 games, besting Peters record of 587.

With the Minutewomen down three to Harvard, Makennah White went for the layup but hit the front of the rim before Breen came flying in for the offensive rebound. She went up strong through contact, fell to the floor and made the tough bucket bringing UMass within one. The Mullins center came alive with the hope of a late game miracle, but the Minutewomen played the foul game for the remainder of the contest and eventually fell 89-87 to the Crimson (19-11, 9-5 Ivy League) in the second round of the WNIT.

“I’m extremely proud of these two beside me,” head coach Tory Verdi said of Breen and Destiney Philoxy. “Probably the best duo to ever play at the University of Massachusetts. They’ve won a lot of games [at UMass] … I don’t know what the winning percentage is, but I what I do know is that it’s pretty significant.”

This isn’t the first season where Breen was on the precipice of this record; in the 2021-2022 season, she finished 16 points shy of Peters illustrious record of 587 points in a single season. Even in the Covid-19 shortened 2020-2021 season where UMass played 24 games, Breen was on pace to smash the record if the season was played in full. She finished that season with 433 total points, but was on pace for 631 points extrapolated over 34 games.

“I had no idea [I passed Peters]. It’s awesome, it’s definitely not something I expected coming in,” Breen said. “I don’t think it’s hit me, I don’t think it will hit me for a while. [The record] is not necessarily something that I needed or I wanted but it’s something that I’m proud of.”

Breen started her campaign for the single season scoring record strong, dropping both a season and career high in the Minutewomen’s season opener against Central Connecticut State University with 31 points. She followed that performance up with 18 against at the time No. 5 Tennessee and then 11 more against Maine. Breen wouldn’t score in single digits until the first matchup between UMass and Harvard where she scored eight.

After this performance, Breen only scored in single digits two more times over the next 30 games, with her last single digit performance coming on Jan. 14. As conference play ramped up and the season dragged on, Breen continued her consistent style of play, more often than not finding herself with double-digit scoring numbers.

“I think the biggest [change for Breen] is her confidence, watching her come in, really unsure about what she got herself into, unsure about me,” Verdi said. “One thing I knew every single day was that I was going to get [Breen]. I knew that I was getting the hardest worker on our team. For a coach to walk into practice every day and know that, it doesn’t happen a lot. A lot of times players come in … their mind’s not really on practice. [Breen] really has a knack to leave everything at the door and go into the gym.”

The accolade season for Breen isn’t over yet as she remains a finalist for the Becky Hammon Mid-Major player of the year award. After consecutive A-10 player of the year honors and a season full of awards, ceremonies and celebrations, Breen has the opportunity to put another feather in her cap, fueling the argument that she goes down as the best player to put on a uniform for the Massachusetts women’s basketball team.

“When I come back and visit, whether it’s in a year or a few years down the road, it’ll be pretty cool to see my name up there,” Breen said. “I’m still very much an introvert … sharing more memories and talking more has been super fun. It’s not just the basketball piece and all the wins that we’ve had this year, it’s all the time off the court [that made this year special].”

Johnny Depin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jdepin101.

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