Women's Basketball

UMass Comes Up Shy In Season-Opener Against Western Michigan

Sophomore guard Nola Henry scored 13 points and dished out five assists during the season-opener against Western Michigan on Friday evening.

Sophomore guard Nola Henry scored 13 points and dished out five assists during the season-opener against Western Michigan on Friday evening.

Nov. 8, 2013

Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts women's basketball team opened its 2013-14 campaign with a 66-58 loss to Western Michigan at the Mullins Center on Friday evening. Nola Henry provided 13 points, five assists and four rebounds as the starting point guard while Jasmine Harris and Emily Mital also reached double-digits on 10 points each.

Alyx Stiff chipped in nine points, four rebounds and three steals during her first collegiate game while Kim Pierre-Louis added eight points to the offensive effort. Rashida Timbilla pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and dished out a pair of assists in only 14 minutes on the floor.

Miracle Woods, Western Michigan's leading scorer a year ago, provided 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the floor and a 3-of-7 performance at the free throw line. Jazmine Windham earned 13 points while Michelle O'Brien grabbed 17 rebounds.

Massachusetts (0-1 overall) and Western Michigan (1-0) traded baskets during the opening possessions of the first half as the squads played to a 12-12 tie with 14 minutes 39 seconds remaining in the contest. Woods and Windham combined to earn the Broncos first 10 points of the game before O'Brien entered the scoring column with a layup to put the visitors in front, 12-9.

Kymber Hill recorded her first collegiate point on a free throw to drop the deficit to 12-10 before Harris connected on a fastbreak layup to even the score at 12-12.

However, Western Michigan responded with a 10-point run, capped by a Jessica Jessing layup with 11:49 to play in the first, to stake itself to a 22-12 lead it would not relinquish during the remainder of the contest.

Back-to-back three-pointers from Mital and Stiff moved the Minutewomen to within 22-18 only a minute later, but UMass was unable to cut further into its deficit before the break. After Stiff again closed the gap to four at 24-20 with 8:41 to play, the Broncos outscored the Minutewomen, 11-4 down the stretch to hold their 35-26 halftime margin.

Western Michigan grew its advantage to 13 points during the opening minutes of the second half as a Windham layup with 16:33 to play in the game made it 41-28 in favor of the Broncos. Both sides were able to convert attempts on their respective offensive ends until Massachusetts used a 7-1 run over 1:50 of game play to pull within 55-51.

Henry sparked the streak with a fastbreak layup and a pair of free throws on back-to-back trips down the court. After A.J. Johnson made the front end of a pair of attempts from the charity stripe, Kiara Bomben swished a three-point with 3:56 remaining to make it 55-51. Bomben finished with seven rebounds, five points, three assists and a pair of steals on the night.

The Broncos added a jumper from Alex Morton and a set of free throws from Johnson to double their lead before Mital connected on a three-point as the deficit fell to five, 59-54 with 2:20 remaining. However, Western Michigan sank 7-of-9 free throws to keep during the closing minutes to keep the Minutewomen out of a potential game-tying situation.

Massachusetts finished 22-of-69 from the floor (31.9 percent) and 5-of-18 from behind the arc (27.8 percent). UMass hit 9-of-20 free throw attempts (45.0 percent) and earned 43 rebounds. Western Michigan went 21-for-51 on field goal attempts (41.2 percent), but the Massachusetts perimeter defense stifled the Broncs from outside, as the visitors went just 2-for-20 on three-point attempts (10.0 percent). Western Michigan added 22 points on free throws in 34 attempts while pulling down 47 boards.

Points in the paint favored Western Michigan, 32-28 while the Minutewomen led in second chance scoring, 10-2 and fast break points, 10-0. The Broncos edged the Minutewomen in scoring off of turnover, 13-12 while the home side held a 17-16 lead in bench points.

UMass returns to the Mullins Center on Sunday, Nov. 10 for a 1 p.m. meeting with Central Michigan.



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