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

UMass loses to Northeastern in first away contest

Struggles at the free throw line prevalent for Minutewomen
Kalina Kornacki
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team fell to the Northeastern Huskies on Thursday night. The Minutewomen (1-1), coming off a first game win vs Saint Peters, faced the Huskies (2-0) for the first time since 2018, and for the first time with head coach Mike Leflar. Thursday’s matchup featured two new coaches, with Leflar leading his first season as head coach of the Minutewomen and Priscilla Edwards-Lloyd coaching her second game for Northeastern women’s basketball.

“I’m measuring our success by our effort, our togetherness, our competitiveness, and I thought that was off the charts [Thursday],” Leflar said. “Are there basketball and x’s and o’s things to improve on, absolutely. I think we’ve been a team that has improved on things day after day, after losses and we’ll improve after this loss and then after wins too.”

Bre Bellamy led the Minutewomen with 15 points and eight rebounds, shooting 67 percent and chipping in three 3-pointers in the loss. Bellamy was followed in scoring by Kristin Williams with 13 and Tori Hyduke adding in 12. The three accounted for 40 of the Minutwomen’s 78, but even with Bellamy, Hyduke and Williams in double digits, every player of the Minutewomen’s squad was a part of the scoring on Thursday. Out of the eight healthy players, all eight scored.

“What you saw [Thursday] from our veterans, [Bellamy, Jermany Mapp and Hyduke], those guys, that’s how they should be playing night in and night out.” Leflar said. “They have enough experience under their belt to be that consistent and that’s what we’re working towards. We’re working towards consistency.”

The Minutewomen struggled at the free throw line, missing 10 of their 25 attempts. 19 defensive fouls came from Northeastern in the 4th quarter, giving UMass the opportunity to bridge the gap between the two undefeated teams. UMass had the chance to make up the deficit from the charity stripe, but failed to capitalize, shooting 60 percent from the line.

A back and forth first quarter was a preview of a competitive game for the Minutewomen. Bellamy started off the quarter from deep, putting three points on the board to start. On the offensive end of things, the Minutewomen stuck with Northeastern, battling point for point. Williams added another 3 right off the bench, and just a minute later doubled her tally to six, tossing another 3-point shot into the basket.

Three pointers seemed to be falling for the Minutewomen, going 5-of-9 and accounting for 15-of-21 first quarter points. Comparatively, the huskies shot 3-of-7 from deep, finding the majority of their points inside the perimeter. The Minutewomen and Huskies were tied at 21 points going into the second quarter.

“I was proud of our start. We knew Northeastern would make runs, they did, we were able to respond,” Leflar said.

The second half proved to be difficult for the UMass defense. With multiple players in foul trouble, the defensive effort from the Minutewomen was sloppy and showed the lack of bench depth. With Bellamy and Lilly Ferguson fouling out late in the second half, it left UMass with only six players. The Minutewomen handed out 33 fouls, giving Northeastern the opportunity to score 48 points at the line. The Huskies took complete advantage, shooting 73 percent.

“I think our inexperience showed a little in our fouling, but we’ll learn from that,” Leflar said.

Offensively, UMass fell behind early in the third, and spent the rest of the game trying to dig its way out of the hole it found itself in. After a mid-range jumper by Mapp, an 8-0 run by the Huskies was stopped, but UMass still struggled to make up the deficit. An offensive effort by Mapp was prevalent during the second half, as she added nine points, including a late 3 to give the huskies only a three-point lead with 20 seconds left. Despite the Minutewomens effort, late 4th quarter points were not enough to bypass the Huskies. UMass finished shooting 39 percent, while Northeastern countered at 51 percent.

“I think that we have some fight in us that was great to see and you never know. As I talked with our team all summer and during the recruiting process, we’re such a new group, 10 new faces, we don’t know how we’re going to respond to adversity night in and night out and day in and day out,” Leflar said. “As much as I try to bring to practice it’s not like game adversity and they just kept responding and I was really really proud of that.”

The Minutewomen find themselves on the road once again where they face the University of Maine on Sunday Nov. 12 at 1 p.m.

Lucy Postera can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @lucypostera.

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