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 third straight

Fourth quarter collapse sinks Minutewomen
Kalina Kornacki
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team lost its third straight game on Saturday afternoon, falling to La Salle 70-64. The Minutewomen (3-14, 1-4 Atlantic 10) held a lead for the majority of the game, but a fourth quarter collapse which saw an 11-0 run at the beginning of the quarter ultimately ended with them allowing 28 points to the opposition, putting the nail in the coffin, leaving UMass with its third straight A-10 loss.

The Explorers (6-10, 3-2 A-10) shot the ball poorly for the first 30 minutes of the contest, shooting over 30 percent from the field as a whole and 19.4 percent from 3-point land. It all changed in the final frame, as La Salle shot 7-of-10 from the floor and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, good for 60 percent. Inversely, the Minutewomen struggled shooting the ball in the fourth quarter, missing all four of their 3-point attempts, losing the lead with eight minutes and 43 seconds left in the game and never regaining it.

UMass once again struggled coming out of halftime on Saturday, shooting 28.5 percent coming out the break, compared to 50 percent in the first half. Bre Bellamy was the only Minutewomen who took over four shots to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor, as she finished with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, an assist and a steal. She was one of three Minutewomen to take a free throw on Saturday, going 1-of-4. Alexsia Rose and Tori Hyduke were the others who cashed in from the charity stripe.

The Minutewomen once again took 13 free throws compared to their opponents La Salle’s 22. The aforementioned Rose took eight of these 13, hitting six, showing no fear of driving to the hoop at five-feet-seven-inches.

“From those that [knew] our teams in the past, [Rose is] very much like some guards that we’ve had in terms of her ability to get into the paint,” head coach Mike Leflar said. “She’s a very unselfish player … when I recruited her here, I talked to her about looking to score more. She’s added so much …”

Bellamy and Hyduke were the only UMass players to connect from distance, both hitting one. The team went a combined 2-of-14 from beyond the arc, good for just over 14 percent. The Explorers didn’t fair much better, shooting 25 percent from 3-point land, but they did this while taking nearly triple the amount of the 3-pointers that the Minutewomen did.

La Salle finished 9-for-36 from 3-point territory, a 21-point swing regarding the points generated from the 3-ball by the respective offenses. UMass mitigated this by scoring 42 of its 64 points in the paint, something that has been a recent trend in A-10 games. Bellamy and Rose were joined in double figures by Stefanie Kulesza who was one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals before eventually fouling out.

For the Explorers, they were led by Gabby Turco, who finished with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists and double the amount of 3-pointers the Minutewomen made as a whole. Three other members of La Salle also finished in double digits, as Nicole Melious finished with 14 points, Molly Masciantonio had 11 and Makayla Miller finished with 10. Miller scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter, with four of her six free throw makes occurring within the last minute of the game, securing the game for the Exlporers.

UMass returns to the Mullins Center on Wednesday, Jan. 17 taking on Loyola Chicago. The Minutewomen will be celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. night, and tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. The game can be viewed on ESPN+.

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

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