Women's Basketball Downs La Salle, 58-46
March 1, 2002
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- The University of Massachusetts women basketball team defeated La Salle, 58-46, this evening in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament. The Minutewomen, who led by 21 points at halftime, saw their lead dwindle to four in the second-half, but held on for the 12-point victory.
In the first half, the Minutewomen went on a 23-2 run, spanning 11:07 to take their largest lead of 21 points. The Explorers did not score for nearly seven minutes and committed 19 turnovers in the half. Massachusetts, which shot 42 percent from the field, took a 34-17 lead into the break.
La Salle made a 10-0 run, cutting the lead down to four points at the 5:22 mark of the second half, and had two consecutive possessions where they could have come within a basket, but were unable to get any closer. Freshman guard Katie Nelson (Ellicott City, Md.) made one of two free throws at the 3:06 mark to end the run. Senior Caroline Nehls (Randolph, N.J.) grabbed the offensive rebound of Nelson's second free-throw and put it back in.
The Minutewomen closed out the game scoring 10 of the final 12 points. Junior guard Ebony Pegues (Columbus, Ohio) scored seven of those points. Massachusetts shot just 32 percent from the field in the second stanza.
Junior forward Amber Sneed (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the Minutewomen with 14 points, including nine in the first half. She also pulled down five boards. Junior center Jennifer Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y.) poured in 11 points and had nine rebounds. Defensively, she added a block and three steals. Pegues added 13 points and a career-high six steals. As a team, the Minutewomen had a season-high 19 steals.
La Salle's Suzanne Keilty had a game-high 16 points on five-for-nine shooting, including four-for-six from behind the three-point line. She scored 13 of those points in the second half. Chrissy Walker dished out eight assists.
With the win, UMass improves to 11-17 overall. The Explorers conclude their season at 6-22 overall and 2-15 in the A-10.
Massachusetts will play Richmond, the No. 2 seed in the A-10 West, in a quarterfinal game tomorrow evening. Tip-off is set for approximately 6:00 p.m.