Updated: Jan 8
by Kevin McCaskill Jr.
1/5/23 * 6:02 PM
(AMHERST, MA) - UMass Athletics started the year with a basketball doubleheader at the Mullins Center, in Amherst, MA. The University is on winter break and most students have gone home. Despite the students not being there, UMass fans came out for both games. The Minutewomen hosted Rhode Island; the Minutemen hosted Saint Louis.
Rhode Island opened the game with Sophomore Guard Sophie Phillips hitting a three. That three was followed by another three by Guard Madison Hattix-Covington. Rhode Island had a quick 6-0 lead.
UMass Junior Guard Ber’Nyah Mayo responded with her own three that put UMass on the board.
Rhode Island outscored UMass 13-4 for the rest of the 1st quarter. UMass struggled on offense for most of the game. Mayo got some easy transition layups but for the most part, UMass had to work for every shot.
In the second quarter, UMass made their best run in the game. Their run was sparked by their defense. UMass Guard Destiney Philoxy forced multiple turnovers which created more opportunities for UMass. Senior Guard Sydney Taylor made some timely shots in the 2nd for the Minutewomen.
The lead went back and forth throughout the second. Rhode Island led at half 31-29.
(Rhode Island Guard Sayawni Lassiter)
Taylor opened the 3rd quarter with a three that gave UMass the lead 32-31. Rhode Island Guard Sayawni Lassiter made a three but UMass responded on the other with a layup by Angela Ngalakulondi. The game was tied at 34.
The game went back and forth with multiple lead changes into the 4th quarter.
Another three by Hattix-Covington early in the 4th quarter narrowed UMass’ lead 55-54. Lassiter made a jumper and Mayé Touré made a layup to give Rhode Island a 58-55 lead.
Back to back threes by Phillips and Lassiter gave Rhode Island a 64-56 lead. Rhode Island never looked back and beat UMass on the road 75-68.
(Rhode Island Guard Sophie Phillips makes a three)
Touré scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Rhode Island. Hattix-Covington scored 17 points and went 4/8 from 3-pt range. Phillips scored 15 points and went 5/7 from 3-pt range. Lassiter scored 13 points.
UMass standout Sam Breen scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Mayo scored 11 points for the Minutewomen.
“Right now, [Rhode Island] is the better program”. UMass Women’s HC Tory Verdi also said, “We did not play well whatsoever”; “Maybe we needed to be knocked down a peg”; “I gotta play more people”.
The Minutewomen are now 11-4 overall and 1-1 in A10 conference play. Their next game is Saturday @ Loyola Chicago. The game starts @ 3 PM, on ESPN+.