Second-Half Comeback Spurs Minutewomen To Win At Hartford
Nov. 23, 2013
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Sparked by a single-game career-high 19 points and nine rebounds from Kim Pierre-Louis, the University of Massachusetts women's basketball team defeated Hartford, 63-59 on Saturday afternoon. With the win at Chase Family Arena in West Hartford, Conn., the Minutewomen improved to 2-3 overall while the Hawks dropped to 1-3 on the season.
Pierre-Louis, who provided 17 of her 19 points during the pivotal second half, earned her total on an 8-for-13 performance from the floor and 3-of-5 day at the free throw line.
Emily Mital and Kiara Bomben scored 12 and 10 points, respectively to boost the offense. Rashida Timbilla added nine boards, seven points, three assists, a block and one steal. Jasmine Harris chipped in eight points, including a pair of three-pointers, and had three rebounds.
Amber Bepko's 15 points and nine rebounds paced Hartford while Cherelle Moore provided 10 points.
The Hawks led by as much as eight points, 51-43 with nine minutes, 37 seconds left in the game before the Minutewomen offense rallied to pull ahead down the stretch.
Pierre-Louis started an 11-point run for UMass moments after the squad went down by eight as she fought her way to the hoop, drew a foul, connected on a layup and drained the ensuing free throw. Harris then stretched the defense with back-to-back three-pointers to give the Minutewomen their first lead of the half, 52-51 with 7:18 to play.
Two trips down the floor later, Pierre-Louis added another layup to her tally for the game to cap the streak and extend UMass' advantage to 54-51.
After Alyssa Englert broke Hartford's scoreless drought with a free throw, Mital provided a clutch three-pointer from the right side to increase the lead back to four, 57-53. Hartford had forced the Minutewomen into an inbounds play from the baseline as one second remained on the shot clock. The ball was fired out to Mital beyond the arc and the junior caught and released in one motion before her shot swished through the net with 4:28 left.
The advantage would dwindle to just two points, 61-59 with exactly two minutes to play in the game after Bepko nailed a jumper for the Hawks. However, the UMass defense pressured Hartford into a pair of missed shots and one turnover in the home squad's final possessions to hold on. Pierre-Louis provided the last points of the game on a set of free throws with two seconds remaining to reach the final score.
Early on in the contest, the interior defense both sides brought to Chase Family Arena kept the game to a low score; however, the Hawks found their shooting touch from outside to spread the floor and earn the lead.
Deanna Mayza drained a trey for the Hawks to make it 12-5 with 12 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the first. After Bomben knocked down a layup for the Minutewomen, Bepko connected from behind the arc before Morgan Lumb added a three-pointer to give the home side an 18-8 lead.
After Hartford expanded its lead to 23-12, UMass responded with six consecutive points to cut the margin to 23-18, using two free throws each from Harris and Timbilla and a Bomben basket to drop the Hawks' lead to five.
The Minutewomen continued to battle in an attempt to erase the deficit, only to be thwarted by Hartford's strong day from beyond the three-point line as the Hawks finished the first half 6-for-10 on treys. Bepko drained another triple for the Hawks before Mital answered on the other end of the floor for Massachusetts to keep the margin at five, 26-21 with 5:03 left to play in the opening half.
The Hawks padded their lead to 31-23 with a Katelyn Skinner three-pointer and Reaves layup. However, Pierre-Louis earned the last basket of the stanza with 1:43 to play in the first to make it 31-25 Hartford entering the break.
After shooting just 7-of-28 from the floor in the first half, the Minutewomen went 15-for-29 during the second stanza (51.7 percent) to finish the game at 38.6 percent (22-of-57) on field goal attempts. The Minutewomen were 4-for-14 on three-pointers (28.6 percent) and 15-of-22 on free throws.
Hartford finished 21-of-53 from floor (39.6 percent), buoyed by a 9-for-16 afternoon from beyond the arc (56.3 percent). The Hawks only went to the free throw line nine times in the game, but made eight of those chances (8.9 percent).
Supported by Pierre-Louis' performance, the Minutewomen held a sizeable advantage, 34-12 in points scored in the paint. Hartford led in scoring off of turnovers, 13-10. UMass edged the Hawks in bench points, 29-18 and second chance points, 12-5.
UMass continues its stretch of four consecutive road games when the squad heads to Worcester, Mass., to battle Holy Cross at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26.