Women's Basketball Falls To Rhode Island, 43-41
Jan. 28, 2002
AMHERST, Mass. - After trailing by as many as eight points late in the second half, the University of Massachusetts battled to within two points of the visiting University of Rhode Island in the final seconds, but the Minutewomen's efforts fell short as the Rams defeated UMass, 43-41, in women's basketball action at the Mullins Center.
The Minutewomen trailed 23-19 at the halftime break, but fought their way back into contention when freshman Katie Nelson (Ellicot City, Md.) hit a three-pointer with 18 minutes remaining to give UMass a 24-23 advantage. Rhode Island quickly regained the lead and extended it to as many as eight points at the 11:03 mark on a three-pointer by Shayla Johnson. UMass battled to within two points on a layup by junior Nekole Smith (Ann Arbor, Mich.) with 49 seconds remaining, but it wasn't enough as the Rams earned the victory and improved to an even 4-4 record in the Atlantic 10, and 11-8 record overall. The Minutewomen fall to 5-14 on the season and 3-5 in in conference play.
Rhode Island maintained a two-point lead for the majority of the first half, behind the strong play of Neda Djuric who led all scorers with nine points in the first stanza.The Minutewomen dominated the boards, but the Rhode Island defense held UMass to just 7-for-26 (26.7) shooting from the field. An offensive rebound and put back by Smith gave UMass it's first lead of the game (11-9) at the 8:14 mark. Rhode Island regained the lead on three-point play by Djuric at 6:32, but a layup by junior Jennifer Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y.) at 7:08 gave UMass a 13-11 advantage. Rhode Island responded with three-pointer by Johnson at 4:08, and the Rams went into the halftime break leading, 23-19.
Johnson finished with a team-high 14 points for the Rams, on 5-for-7 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 from three-point range. Yatar Kuyateh and Neda Djuric each chipped in 11 points for Rhode Island. Butler finished with a game-high 16 points and eleven rebounds, for her 13th double-double of the season. Smith added twelve points for the Minutewomen, while junior Amber Sneed (Cincinnatti, Ohio) added six points.
UMass outrebounded Rhode Island 39 to 18, but shot just 28.8 percent from the floor. The Rams shot 12-for-28 on the game, including 6-for-11 (54.5%) in the second half.
The Minutewomen return to action on Thursday, Jan. 31, when they take on conference rival Dayton at the Mullins Center. The game is slated to begin at 7:00 p.m.