Minutewomen Top Vermont, 53-48
Dec. 4, 2002
AMHERST, Mass. - Seniors Ebony Pegues (Columbus, Ohio) and Jen Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored nine unanswered points in the final 3:02 to erase a four-point deficit and give the University of Massachusetts women's basketball team (4-1) a 53-48 win over previously unbeaten Vermont (4-1) this evening at the Mullins Center.
Butler's lay-up at the 1:48 mark tied the game at 48 apiece. On the other end of the floor, Pegues stole the ball and drove the length of the floor to put the Minutewomen up 50-48 with just 1:29 left. It was the first UMass lead since it held a 4-3 advantage at the 17:44 mark of the first half. The Minutewomen then stopped the Catamounts on defense and free throws by Pegues (1-2) and Butler (2-2) down the stretch secured their fourth win of the season. It was Jan. 21, before last year's team won its fourth game.
In a sloppy first half, the Minutewomen shot just .233 (7-30) from the floor. They stepped it up on the defensive end, forcing 14 Vermont turnovers and trailed by just four points at the break, 22-18.
The Minutewomen were down by as many as six points in the second half, but fought back to tie the score at 39 with 7:41 remaining in regulation. That is when the Catamounts went on a 6-0 run to regain the edge. Junior sharpshooter Judit Zsedenyi (Budapest, Hungary) nailed a three-pointer at the 4:04 mark and senior Nekole Smith (Ann Arbor, Mich.) followed with a field goal, but a trey by Vermont's Theresa LaRocque gave it a four-point edge with just 3:02 to play. Zsedenyi has now made at least one trifecta in every game this year.
Pegues finished with a team-high 13 points and added five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Butler, despite constant double- and triple-teams as well as foul trouble, still managed to post her fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds, She also had four steals and was 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Junior Cleo Foster (Toronto, Ontario) made her second consecutive start and scored a career-high eight points and four assists, while not committing a turnover.
UMass forced 22 Vermont turnovers, while committing just 10 of its own. The Minutewomen out-scored the Catamounts in the paint, 32-19, but were out-rebounded, 39-37.
At 4-1, UMass is off to its best start since the 1993-94 season, when it began 4-1 en route to a 14-14 finish.
UMass hits the road again on Saturday, Dec. 7, with a 1:00 p.m. tilt at New Hampshire.