Defense Leads UMass To 62-58 Win Over George Washington
Jan. 12, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass women's basketball used a stout defensive performance to secure a 62-58 victory over George Washington to open A-10 Conference play at the Mullins Center on Saturday afternoon. Redshirt-junior Carolann Cloutier led four Minutewomen in double-figures with a season-high 13 points. Sophomore guard Emily Mital added 11 while senior center Jasmine Watson and sophomore forward Aisha Rodney each chipped in 10.
Freshman forward Rashida Timbilla tallied a game-best 11 rebounds while totaling eight points and tying a career-high with five steals. Freshman guard Nola Henry finished 3-for-4 from the floor for seven points, also dishing out four assists and earning two steals. Rodney finished 5-for-5 from the field and pulled down five boards. Watson finished with eight boards, leading all players with five off the offensive glass.
After George Washington (6-9 overall, 0-1 A-10) raced to a 7-1 lead 2:10 into the contest, the Minutewomen defense settled in to hold the Colonials to just 14 points over the remaining 17:50 of the opening stanza. During the half, George Washington only hit 7-of-27 attempts from the field (25.9 percent), including finishing just 1-for-4 from behind the arc (25.0 percent).
UMass (3-13, 1-0) battled back from its early deficit on the strength of its defense and nine points from Mital and six from Timbilla, who also had five rebounds and a pair of assists in the first.
Henry connected on the front end of a pair of foul shots before Mital knocked down her first three-pointer of the game on the ensuing UMass possession to pull the Minutewomen within 7-5 at the 17:03 mark. The sophomore guard from Frisco, Texas, followed her second trey only 40 seconds later to give UMass its first lead of the day, 8-7.
After GW tied the contest at 14-14 with 8:34 remaining in the half, UMass finished out the frame with a 14-7 run to hold a 28-21 lead at the half, an advantage the squad would not relinquish the rest of the way. Scoring was balanced across five Minutewomen as UMass doubled the GW output during the final eight and a half minutes. Rodney and Timbilla tallied four each while Mital produced three points on a jumper and free throw, Watson hit a layup and Cloutier connected on one foul shot.
The Minutewomen grew their lead as high as 10 in the first half, 27-17 with 3:39 remaining in the first and finished the half ahead, 28-21. After Danni Jackson hit 1-of-2 free throw attempts to pull George Washington within 20-17 at the 5:33 mark, UMass went on a 7-0 run to pad the advantage. Timbilla hit a pair of foul shots while Watson followed with a layup and Mital was bumped while converting a shot at the basket, knocking down the ensuing free throw for the 10-point lead.
After the Colonials moved to within three of tying again, UMass converted its attempts from the floor during the early minutes of the second half to re-take a double-digit lead, 42-31 with 13:50 left to play. Cloutier spearheaded the Minutewomen offense with back-to-back three-pointers, reaching 10 points on the game in the process.
The Minutewomen continued to pad their lead until the final minutes of the contest, pulling ahead by as much as 15 during the second half. Following a Chakecia Miller free throw that dropped the UMass lead to 50-40, Henry fought her way inside the arc and pulled up for a jumper before Watson added a layup and senior guard Dee Montgomery hit a free throw for the 55-40 lead at the 5:09 mark.
George Washington chipped away at its deficit until the Minutewomen held only a three-point advantage, 59-56 with 39 seconds to play. However, after letting the shot clock tick down to single-digits, Henry drove to the left of the Colonials' basket into the paint and used the backboard to drain her third shot of the day, putting UMass in front, 61-56 with 13 seconds remaining.
Jackson answered with a layup for the Colonials to again pull GW within three of tying, 61-58 with six seconds remaining; however, Cloutier sank a free throw after being fouled on the inbounding play to reach the eventual final score, 62-58 with three seconds remaining. Montgomery intercepted a long George Washington entry pass near midcourt to seal the win for UMass.
The Minutewomen finished 23-for-52 from the floor (44.2 percent), hit 4-of-16 three-pointers (25.0 percent) and went 12-for-20 from the free throw line. On the other end of the court UMass was able to limit GW to a 19-for-57 field goal performance (33.3 percent) as the Colonials went 4-for-13 from behind the three-point arc (30.8 percent). George Washington, the worst free throw shooting squad in the 16-team Atlantic 10 entering conference competition, finished 16-for-26 from the foul line (61.5 percent).
UMass won the battle in the paint, 26-22 while recording a 16-15 advantage in points in the paint. Second change scoring favored the Colonials, 18-10 while the UMass bench recorded 13 points to 11 for the George Washington reserves.
Tara Booker and Jackson each netted 14 points for the Colonials; however, UMass kept the duo off-balance for much of the contest, resulting in the pair ending 9-for-30 from the floor (30.0 percent).
UMass continues Atlantic 10 Conference competition at Fordham with a 7 p.m. contest in Rose Hill Gym on Wednesday, Jan. 16.