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

Maine tops UMass 69-48

Defensive woes hold back Minutewomen
Kalina Kornacki
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team fell to the University of Maine on Sunday, 69-48. After playing away on Thursday night, this loss is the second on the road for the Minutewomen (1-2), but the second win in a row for the Black Bears (2-1).

Maine had no transfers in or out of the program for their 2023-24 campaign. This differs from UMass, which welcomed six transfers and four freshmen. The veteran team outplayed the new squad as it continues to improve.  

“We have to grow. We’re going to face a lot of adversity and we have to be better facing it, head coach Mike Leflar said 

The Minutewomen have consistently shared the wealth, distributing points all over the roster. Out of the eight healthy players on the current roster, six contributed to the team total of 48. Stefanie Kulesza led the way with 15 points and Bre Bellamy followed with 11, making the duo the high scorers of the day. Jermany Mapp tossed in seven, and Lilly Taulelei added seven off the bench. 

“We’re trying to strive for balance,” Leflar said. “We’ve been really uneven. I don’t know if our team has an identity on offense.” 

The Minutewomen showed defensive struggles in the loss. Turnovers were prevalent, with Maine scoring 21 points off UMass’ 15 turnovers. Maine capitalized off the Minutewomens faults, leading to scoring opportunities throughout the game. Struggles in the paint held UMass back, but allowed the Black Bears to score 34 points in the paint. Turnovers, with the addition of foul trouble, led to defensive woes for the Minutewomen.  

“Foul trouble had been a little bit of an issue for us in all three games and our exhibition. We have to be disciplined enough to not foul,” Leflar said. “The foul troubles weren’t a game changer [Sunday], Maine outplayed us.”  

Even within times of struggle, the Minutewomen found ways to improve their game to the best of their abilities. Freshman Dallas Piece drew three changes, and defense became more controlled as the game progressed 

I just used that as an example that [Pierce] is taking her third charge, we’re down 20, that’s who we want to be. The score shouldn’t dictate how we play,” Leflar said. 

Quarter two was messy for the minutewomen. Kirstin Williams joined the game off the bench early on and started UMass off strong with a deep 3. Although the first minutes looked promising, things went south for UMass, who lacked defensive strength and offensive effort. Maine grabbed five offensive rebounds in a row off the same missed shot.  

Rebounds have been a constant place to improve on in the few minute women contests this year. Kulesza, a standout forward, grabbed only four in Sunday’s game, while Bellamy had a team high of six. Comparatively, UMass picked up 26 rebounds to Maines 41.  

The loss did not come from a lack of accuracy, but rather a lack of opportunity. UMass and Maine shot within the same ballpark percentage, with UMass at 38.8 percent from the field goal range and UMaine shooting 45.2 percent, but the Black Bears got off more shots. Within the 60 minute contest, the Minutewomen got off 49 shots, while Maine ended with 62. At the line, UMasss shot 50 percent while Maine hit all of its attempts for eight points.  

The Minutwomen return to the Mullins Center on Thursday, Nov. 16, facing Harvard at 6 p.m.  

Lucy Postera can be reached at [email protected] or followed on twitter @lucypostera  

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