Minutewomen Fall To URI, 66-57
Jan. 30, 2003
AMHERST, Mass. - Senior Jen Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored 19 points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds, but the University of Massachusetts (11-8, 3-5) fell to the University of Rhode Island (11-8, 3-5), 66-57, this evening in an Atlantic 10 Conference women's basketball game at the Mullins Center. The loss for the Minutewomen was their third in a row, the longest streak of the season.
The Minutewomen once again jumped out to a quick start, taking an early 9-3 lead at the 15:37 mark. Rhode Island answered, however, with a 12-2 run of its own over the next 3:31 to take a 15-11 lead. After consecutive baskets by UMass seniors Siiri Liivandi (Rapla, Estonia) and Ebony Pegues (Columbus, Ohio) tied the game at 15, the Rams reeled off the next nine points to take a 24-15 lead. The Minutewomen tried to chip away the remainder of the first half, but could not get closer than four points. A jumper by sophomore Monique Govan (Chicago, Ill.) at the buzzer sent Massachusetts into the locker room down by six, 35-29.
Much like the beginning of the game, Massachusetts charged out of the half scoring the first seven points and taking a brief one-point lead in the second half. URI answered with a an 8-2 run of its own to go back on top, this time for good. A three-pointer by Pegues at the 10:11 mark cut the Massachusetts deficit to one (43-42), but that was as close as it would get.
The Rams held a late nine-point lead and held off a late Minutewoman surge with timely defense and clutch free throw shooting to preserve the win. Senior Jen Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y.) followed her own missed free throw with a lay-in at the 1:34 mark to bring UMass within three points at 58-55, but URI's Denise King went six-for-six at the charity stripe the final minute and change to seal the game.
In addition to Butler's 15th double-double of the season, two other Minutewomen recorded double-figures. Senior Nekole Smith (Ann Arbor, Mich.) had 14 points, while Pegues finished with 15 points and eight assists.
Massachusetts out-shot the Rams .480 (24-50) to .458 (22-48), but for the third straight game was out-rebounded (33-25). The Minutewomen are the best rebounding team in the conference.
King led URI with 23 points and six assists. She was 14-for-16 from the free throw line, while UMass as a team was just 4-for-11. Chrys Washington chipped in 12 points for the visitors, while Katie Stailing had 10.
Massachusetts returns to action on Sunday, Feb. 2, as it hosts La Salle. Tip-off at the Mullins Center is slated for 2:00 p.m. The Minutewomen will be participating in the NCAA's Take a Kid to the Game Day as all children 18 and younger will receive free admission with the purchase of a full-priced adult ticket.
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