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 falls to Richmond 79-65

Hard fought third quarter not enough for Minutewomen victory
Kalina Kornacki
Daily Collegian (2023)

Kristin Williams kept the Massachusetts women’s basketball team within reach of a conference win, matching her career high with 19 points, but the persistent offense couldn’t propel the Minutewomen (3-13, 1-3 Atlantic 10) past Richmond, falling 79-65 to the Spiders (14-3, 4-0 A-10) on Wednesday.

“We’ve encountered some losses this year but that’s got to fuel us,” head coach Mike Leflar said. “It’s up to me as the head coach, it’s up to our staff, and it’s up to our players individually to use that frustration as motivation.”

After a back and forth first quarter battle, UMass trailed the Spiders by six going into the second. Dallas Pierce kicked off the second quarter with a 3-pointer, cutting Richmond’s six-point lead to three.

The Spiders responded with force, putting themselves up 27-20 after a Rachel Ullstrom 3-pointer at 5:53. The first few minutes of second quarter play were representative of the A-10 head-to-head, with UMass and Richmond trading baskets. Both teams put up 16 in the second, making for a tough road to a win.

The early 3-pointer from Pierce was a necessary shot for the Minutewomen, but a rare one at that. UMass lacked completion on 3-point attempts, shooting 28.6 percent from 3-point range, making six out of 21 attempts. The majority of the Minutewomen’s points came from paint, with 28 from down low. With lots of conference play to go, the Minutewomen look to expand their range, creating scoring opportunities all over the court.

Williams opened the second half with a bang, going on a run to put the Minutewomen back in the game. Her 7-0 third quarter run started off with a pass from Stefanie Kulesza up the court, giving Williams an open layup opportunity. These two points were followed with a 3-pointer by Williams, one of her three. Williams finished with a layup for two, putting the Minutewomen up 36-35.

“[Williams] has the ability to score the basketball,” Leflar said. “We have to take advantage of that.”

The momentum seen early in the third quarter by the Minutewomen followed them the whole game, making it hard for the Spiders to find a comfortable lead until the last minutes.

“I saw us taking the fight to Richmond,” Leflar said. “[I saw] us being aggressive on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor and us being connected.”

A 3-point shot from Ullstrom at 6:19 was matched by Pierce just seconds later, but a hard-fought ending pioneered by Ullstrom and Grace Townsend gave the Spiders a 10-point lead with just 3:25 left in the A-10 battle.

Ullstrom led Richmond with 26 points and six rebounds. Addie Budnik had 16 points, Maggie Doogan scored 12 and Townsend tossed in 10 for a complete effort from the Spiders.

On the offensive side for UMass, three Minutewomen reached double-digits. Williams, with 19, was followed by Alexsia Rose with 13 points and Kulesza with 12 points.

Rose, a senior guard, played both sides of the ball for UMass, showing a complete offensive and defensive effort. Her performance was described as “dynamic” and “competitive” by Leflar post-game. Although fouling out with five personal fouls, she dished out four assists and added a block and a steal in the loss.

“We just have to continue sticking together and working together,” Leflar said.

The Minutewomen are back on the road, taking on La Salle on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 3 p.m.

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

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