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 women’s basketball loses eighth straight

Strong third quarter not enough for Minutewomen
Kalina Kornacki
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team lost to Yale on Friday evening, 70-62. The Minutewomen (1-8) couldn’t recover from a second quarter where they got outscored 22-12 despite tying the Bulldogs (2-6) at 48 with 9:34 left in the game.

The bulk of the Minutewomen’s comeback occurred in the third quarter, where they shot 9-of-12 from the floor as well as 5-of-5 from the free throw line, good for 23 points. UMass trailed by as many as 15 points in the latter stages of the first 20 minutes, but cut the deficit to two by the end of the third quarter. It outscored Yale 23-14 in the quarter.

Tori Hyduke led the charge in the 10 minutes following halftime, finishing the quarter with six points. When the clock bled zero, she had eight points, five rebounds and four assists. Although Hyduke led the scoring charge in the third quarter, the Minutewomen spread the wealth on Friday evening. Nine players saw the floor for UMass, with eight registering a bucket.

“We got our transition defense under control and in order,” head coach Mike Leflar said. “[Being organized] has been a big key the last couple games … we just keep coming up empty transition defense wise, we’re giving up too many points, too many open layups, open shots … we fixed it a little bit in the third quarter.”

The Minutewomen struggled in the painted area on Friday, getting lapped in rebounds 32-16. An even bigger disparity existed on offensive boards, as Yale snagged 12 to UMass’ one, which was controlled by Taulelei. The Minutewomen’s tallest starter on Friday was six-foot Bre Bellamy.

Leflar remedied this with height off the bench, as he called upon the six-foot-three-inch Lilly Taulelei and six-foot-five-inch Chinenye Odenigbo for her first collegiate minutes after missing the beginning of the season with injury. Odenigbo and her six points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the floor was needed as Bellamy was limited with injury, seeing just 16 minutes on the court.

“I was really pleased with [Odenigbo’s] effort, she’s practiced with us the last two days, we had a couple of players [as a] game-time decision,” Leflar said. “It was just great to see her out there. She made a big difference for us … it was great to see her make an impact and be out there for her first collegiate minutes.”

Taulelei finished as the leading scorer for the Minutewomen, notching 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting along with two rebounds and a steal. Taulelei was the only UMass player to finish with double-digit points and finished as the game’s third leading scorer.

“She’s making strides,” Leflar said of Taulelei. “She’s very coachable, [Taulelei’s] been a sponge … really was proud of her effort and I just want to see her continue to get better, and I want to help her continue to build her confidence as well … [she] can make a difference inside [the paint].”

The majority of the damage done to UMass came from the Bulldog tandem of Kiley Capstraw and Jenna Clark. Capstraw led Yale in scoring with 21 points which was bolstered by her 5-of-10 performance from 3-point land. Clark, the team’s captain, etched her name further into Bulldog history, reaching the number three spot on the all-time assist leaderboard early in the second quarter. She finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

As a whole, the Minutewomen shot better from the floor than Yale, finishing the night at 49 percent from the floor while the Bulldogs sat at 44.4 percent. The difference between the two squads was shot selection, with Yale finishing Friday with 11 more 3-point attempts than UMass, going 7-of-19. The Minutewomen finished 2-of-8 from beyond the arc. These two three-pointers were UMass’ first and last made shots, as Kristin Williams opened the game with a three, while Stefanie Kulesza hit a garbage time three-pointer to end the game.

The Minutewomen are next in action on Wednesday, Dec. 6, taking on Boston College at Chestnut Hill. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game can be viewed on ESPN+.

“It’s more of the same that we’ve seen in some of our competitive games,” Leflar said. “Our margin for error is really slim … as much fight as we have in us, sometimes those mental errors caught up to us. We couldn’t overcome the controllable mistakes that I thought we made [Friday].”

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

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *