Women's Basketball Falls To La Salle, 67-62
March 6, 2003
KINGSTON, R.I. -- Despite 29 points and 23 rebounds from senior Jennifer Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y.), the University of Massachusetts women's basketball team fell to La Salle, 67-62, in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament tonight at the Ryan Center on the campus of the University of Rhode Island.
Massachusetts led 38-34 at the 15:30 mark of the second half, but La Salle went on a 20-2 run over the next 5:30 to take a 14-point lead at the 10:00 mark. The Minutewomen responded with an 18-3 run of their own to take a 58-57 lead with just 3:11 left. A three-pointer by senior Ebony Pegues (Columbus, Ohio) cut the deficit to seven, while Butler scored eight points during the run, including the go-ahead basket.
After Butler gave the Minutewomen the lead, La Salle's Davineia Payne made one of two free throws to tie the game at 58. On the other end, UMass was unable to convert and Jill Marano drained a trifecta at the 1:50 mark which proved to be the knock-out punch. On the next possession, UMass senior Nekole Smith (Ann Arbor, Mich.) made two free throws to cut the La Salle lead down to one at 61-60, but were unable to make a stop on defense as Kat Foley hit a jumper at the 1:13 mark to put the Explorers back up three. On the next trip down the floor, UMass had three chances within three feet of the basket, but the ball would not go through the basket. La Salle made all of its free throws down the stretch and prevailed for the upset win.
Butler finished with 29 points and 23 rebounds in her final game as a Minutewoman. She will leave UMass ranked fifth all-time in scoring with 1,490 points. She also had five assists and three steals tonight. Smith had 12 points and five rebounds tonight and will leave in seventh-place on the school's all-time scoring chart with 1,165 points. Pegues had nine points and three assists, while senior Amber Sneed (Cincinnati, Ohio) had six points and five boards.
Foley led La Salle with 17 points, while Marano had 16. Payne finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
The Minutewomen out-rebounded La Salle, 46-33, but shot just .354 (23-65) from the field. The Explorers were .424 (25-59) from the field, including 6-19 (.316) from behind the arc.
The Minutewomen conclude the 2002-03 season with a 14-14 record. La Salle improves to 15-13 and will advance into tomorrow's quarterfinal against Xavier at 6:00 p.m.