Minutewomen Down Duquesne, 77-68
March 2, 2003
AMHERST, Mass. - Five players scored in double figures as the University of Massachusetts women's basketball team (14-13, 6-10) closed out the regular season with a 77-68 win over Duquesne this afternoon before 1,278 fans at the Mullins Center.
Massachusetts went on a 13-1 run in the first half to turn a 9-9 game into a 22-10 lead. The Minutewomen then extended the lead to 14 at 28-14 on two consecutive baskets by senior Jennifer Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and free throws by senior Amber Sneed (Cincinnati, Ohio) at the 10:58 mark. The two teams then traded baskets for the remainder of the half as the Minutewomen took a 41-30 lead into halftime.
A basket by senior Siiri Liivandi (Rapla, Estonia) at the 14:16 mark of the second half gave UMass its largest lead at 16 (54-38), but the Dukes chipped away and eventually made it a game. Duquesne outscored UMass 15-3 over the next 5:21 to cut its deficit to just four points at 57-53. Consecutive free throws a couple of minutes later by Liivandi and Butler extended the Minutewomen's lead back to 12 and they were able to hold off the Dukes for the win on Senior Day.
The five senior starters, Liivandi, Sneed, Butler, Nekole Smith (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Ebony Pegues (Columbus, Ohio) accounted for 76 of the 77 total points. Smith led the way with 20 points on 8-12 shooting as well as hauling in five rebounds. Pegues finished with 18 points, six assists and five steals, while Butler had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Sneed scored 12 points and had nine boards, while Liivandi had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Candace Futrell scored a game-high 31 points for the Dukes, including her 1,000th career point in the second half. Nicole Sinclair also had 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds for the Dukes.
UMass shot .429 (27-63) this afternoon and out-rebounded the Dukes, 43-34. The Minutewomen committed 18 turnovers, but forced 21 miscues by the Dukes. UMass was 20-28 (.714) at the free throw line.
The Minutewomen close out the regular season with a 14-13 overall record and are the third seed in next week's A-10 Tournament. They will face La Salle at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 6 in the first round.
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