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 season ends at the hands of Duquesne, 81-57

Minutewomen end season in second round of Atlantic 10 conference tournament
Gabbie Granoff
Daily Collegian (2024)

The Massachusetts women’s basketball team ended its season with an 81-57 loss in the second round of the Atlantic 10 conference tournament against fifth seeded Duquesne. UMass (5-27, 2-16 A-10) started out hot, but very soon after found itself in front of an insurmountable deficit, sealing its fate.

At the start of the contest, the Minutewomen were getting any shot they wanted, looking like a brand-new team which forced an early timeout from the Dukes (19-11, 13-5 A-10). Head coach Dan Burt rallied his team, and Duquesne ended the first quarter not allowing a made shot from UMass in the final six minutes, ending the quarter up 21-10. From there, Duquesne never looked back.

“[We] got off to a great start, but unfortunately, I just thought we made some mental errors early that [Duquesne] capitalized on, and we were never able to recover,” head coach Mike Leflar said.

Amid an offensive barrage, Duquesne guard Precious Johnson eclipsed the 1,000 career points mark with a tough layup in a crowded paint. “It feels great, especially having my teammates support and my coaches support. It feels great,” Johnson said about the accomplishment. She finished the contest with 13 points, eight rebounds and an assist.

On the Minutewomen side, Stefanie Kulesza and Kristin Williams finished with 11 points each, and walk-on Avery Childers had three minutes in the game, her first of the season. She recorded her first collegiate points with a layup.

“[Childers] is a bit of an inspiration for everyone. I mean, she’s our walk on, but she’s with us each and every single day, and gives the same effort, brings the same attitude, the same energy, and honestly, the same expectations that I demand from people like [Tori Hyduke] and [Bre Bellamy], I demand from [Childers], so, to see her get rewarded for that, you know, her family was here, I was really proud of her to be able to get a bucket in front of her Mom and Dad and sister,” Leflar said.

For Duquesne, A-10 first team all defense member Megan McConnell excelled, putting up 21 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Along with McConnell and Johnson, Tess Myers finished with 11 points.

The Dukes move onto a quarterfinal matchup with George Mason in pursuit of a conference title.

“Duquesne, you know, I know they’re in the fifth seed, but there’s probably five or six teams in this conference that can win the conference tournament, and they’re one of them. They’re really talented,” Leflar said.

For UMass, a rather disappointing season comes to an end. With a turned over roster and a new coach at the helm, Leflar praised his team.

“I just thanked our team because, you know, I asked them to pick themselves up so many times this season, and I think they did that. Our record is our record, but I thought we showed up to fight every single day at practice, and I always left the gym feeling really good about the progress we were making and the fact that we were staying engaged despite our record.”

Bellamy, a graduate student, also took some time postgame to reflect on the season. “Hopefully we’ve been able to pass off a few examples that [the Underclassmen] can take with them. Also just to remember, as student athletes, not everything is about being an athlete. I mean, years from now I’m probably not going to remember what happened in certain games, but I am going to remember the times I had with my teammates.”

Owen Shelffo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @owen_shelffo.

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