Women's Basketball

 
Women's Hoops Faces First-Time Foe American On Sunday

Nov. 13, 2013

 Massachusetts Women's Basketball Game Notes and Information
 Game 3 Massachusetts (0-2) at American University (1-0)
 Date | Time Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013 | 1:00 p.m.
 Location Bender Arena (4,500) | Washington, D.C.
 Live Statistics PrestoSports Prime Time
 Radio Broadcast WMUA 91.1 FM (Chris Doherty and John Ryan)
 Live Video AUeagles.TV (Subscription Required)
 Series History This game marks the first meeting between the programs.
 Game Notes Massachusetts Get Acrobat Reader | American University Get Acrobat Reader
 Team Information Massachusetts Get Acrobat Reader | American University
 Social Media @UMassAthletics   | @UMassWBB  
 Attend The Game American University Ticket Office

Scouting American University
Massachusetts women's basketball takes to the road for the first time on the 2013-14 season as it heads to Washington, D.C., to face American University at Bender Arena on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 1 p.m. This game will mark the first meeting between the programs.

American returns four starters from a team that finished 15-14 overall last season. Alexis Dobbs paced the squad with 11.0 point per game last year while chipping in 3.9 assists and 2.0 steals in each contest. Jen Dumiak, who chipped in 10.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in 2012-13, also returns. The squad is playing under first-year head coach Megan Gebbia, who spent the previous 10 seasons on head coach Brian Giorgis' staff at Marist College. The program went 264-64 (.805 win pct.) during Gebbia's tenure.

The Eagles started 2013-14 with a 76-69 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Dobbs scored 21 points and went 7-of-10 from the floor. Arron Zimmerman and Lauren Crisler each added 11 points.

A year ago, American produced 56.9 points in each contest while foes recorded 57.7 on average over 28 games played. The Eagles also lost the battle of the boards, 37.5-to-33.8.

Hi, My Name Is...
During the opening three games of the 2013-14 season, UMass women's basketball will meet a trio of teams for the first time in the 46-year history of the varsity program. A duo of Mid-American Conference squads, Western Michigan and Central Michigan, traveled to the Mullins Center as part of an agreement between the University of Massachusetts athletic department and the MAC, which the Minutemen football team is a part of.

UMass follows with its inaugural contest in the series against American University in Washington, D.C. The Maroon and White could potentially face a fourth first-time foe in Wisconsin-Green Bay when the Minutewomen compete in the four-team University of Maine Invitational from Nov. 29-30. UMass faces Maine to open play at the tournament, with their second game featuring either Green Bay or William & Mary.

Getting To The Line
Two games into the 2013-14 season, sophomore point guard Nola Henry is averaging 14.5 points per game due in part to her ability to challenge a defender, draw the foul and make the ensuing free throws. Henry is already 14-of-18 (.778) from the charity stripe this year, including a career-best 9-for-10 performance against Central Michigan on Nov. 10.

An added facet to her game, Henry has found her way to the free throw line more times in two games as a sophomore than she did in 506 minutes played over 28 contests as a freshman. During 2013-14, Henry finished 9-of-14 (.643) on free throws.

No First-Game Jitters For Alyx Stiff
In her first college game, freshman guard Alyx Stiff provided a veteran touch with nine points, four rebounds, three steals and only one turnover in 29 minutes on the floor. Coming off the bench for the first time with 13 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the opening half, her first field goal attempt as a Minutewoman was a made three-pointer with 10:46 to play in the stanza. The youngest player on the team at just 18-years, and 4-months old, Stiff went on to finish with five points in the opening frame and four more during the second half.

Taking Possession
Using an up-tempo style of play catering to its smaller lineup, UMass women's basketball harassed Western Michigan into 23 turnovers in the season-opener, equaling the highest total caused during the 2012-13 campaign. Last year, the Minutewomen set their high mark for turnovers created with 23 against Dartmouth on Jan. 6, 2013. Against the Broncos, UMass used 12 steals to boost its caused turnovers total, including three each by sophomore Jasmine Harris and Nola Henry and freshman Alyx Stiff.

Chris Wielgus Joins Staff As Director Of Operations
The University of Massachusetts women's basketball program and head coach Sharon Dawley announced the addition of Chris Wielgus to the Minutewomen staff as the Director of Operations on Wednesday afternoon. Wielgus brings more than three decades of experience to the UMass program; including 30 seasons as a head coach at the NCAA Division I level. At UMass, Wielgus' main responsibility will be overseeing the day-to-day functionality of the program.

An elite coach at Fordham (1991-93) and Dartmouth (1976-84; 1993-2013), Wielgus (pronounced well-GUS) recorded a dozen Ivy League Championships, one Patriot League Title, seven NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of berths in the WNIT. Over 28 seasons leading the Big Green, Wielgus became the most successful head coach in the history of the program, amassing 393 victories and 20 winning seasons during her tenure.

Dawley and Wielgus previously worked together on the Dartmouth staff for 10 campaigns from 1993-2003. Dawley was an assistant coach under Wielgus from 1993-97 before being promoted to associate head coach in anticipation of the 1997-98 season. Together, the duo helped lead Dartmouth to a trio of NCAA Tournament appearances and 153 victories before Dawley was named the head coach at Vermont in 2003.

Tatiyiana McMorris Named Graduate Assistant
The University of Massachusetts women's basketball program and head coach Sharon Dawley announced Tatiyiana McMorris as a graduate assistant on Thursday, Oct. 3. McMorris, who competed at Marquette with the Golden Eagles from 2007-11, will help in all aspects of the team, with an emphasis on the program's video necessities and the film-sharing system.

At Marquette, the Bronx, N.Y., native played in 130 career games and made 66 starts. She ranks fourth all-time at the school in three-point field goal percentage (.371), tied for fourth in appearances, tied for sixth in made three-pointers (152) and eight for total three-point attempts (410). During her tenure, Marquette won 79 games, including the 2008 WNIT Championship, while making a national postseason appearance during each campaign.

In addition to her collegiate experience, McMorris was an assistant coach at Sussex Hamilton High School in Sussex, Wis., in 2011-12, and led the 13u Ring City AAU team, based in New Jersey during its 2012 season.

Richmond Coliseum To Host Atlantic 10 Championship
The Atlantic 10 Conference announced its women's basketball championship will move to the Richmond Coliseum on Thursday afternoon, effective for the 2014 event. Slated to host 13 teams, the event will take place from March 5-9, 2014.

The championship will open with a play-in game on Wednesday, followed by four first-round games on Thursday. The four quarterfinal games will tip-off Friday followed by the semifinal round on Saturday which will be televised live nationally on CBS Sports Network. The finals will air live on ESPNU beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.

When the championship tips off in Richmond, it will mark just the third time in its 32-year history that it will take place at a neutral site. Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Mass., played host in 2011, while Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., served as host in 2010. The Atlantic 10 is one of only eight conferences (out of 31 league) where the women's basketball championship will be played at a neutral site, separate from the men's championship.

A Youthful Approach
With only one senior on the roster in Kiara Bomben, the 2013-14 UMass women's basketball squad will feature a youthful lineup during the upcoming season. Nine of the 13 players will be in their first or second year of competing at the collegiate level while the sophomore class, comprised of six individuals, is the largest overall. UMass also has three freshmen and a trio of juniors to round out the group.

The sophomores earned valuable minutes during the 2012-13 season, a campaign in which the squad also featured a youthful cast. During last year, underclassmen played 62.0 percent of the total minutes (3,463-of-5,800), earned 1,004 of the 1,636 points scored (61.4 percent) and grabbed 736-of-1,096 rebounds (67.2 percent).

Watson Signs To Play With ACS Sepsi
Former University of Massachusetts women's basketball student-athlete Jasmine Watson (2008-12) will begin her professional playing career in Romania with ACS Sepsi. Watson is joining a program set to compete in the 2013-14 EuroCup after finishing its most recent season in fourth place among teams playing as part of the Liga Nationala, the top division in Romania.

During four seasons representing UMass women's basketball, Watson accumulated 1,291 points, 731 rebounds and 175 blocks in 109 appearances, including 94 starts. The South Bend, Ind., native's scoring average of 11.8 per game stands 14th all-time at Massachusetts while her 6.7 rebounds per contest place Watson 10th in UMass women's basketball history.

Tamara Tatham Chosen For Team Canada
The Canadian Women's Basketball National Team and head coach Lisa Thomaidis announced former UMass women's basketball standout Tamara Tatham (2003-07) as one of the 12 athletes chosen to represent the country at the FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico. Tatham competed for Team Canada at the international tournament from Sept. 22-28 as the squad finished 5-1 overall and earned a silver medal.

Taking place in Xalapa, Mexico, the tournament featured national programs from the Americas. Canada opened against Jamaica with a 75-37 win on Sunday, Sept. 22, before beating Chile, 93-51 on Sept. 23. The Canadians drubbed Venezuela, 89-45 the following day and close preliminary play with a 53-40 victory over Cuba on Sept. 25.

To advance to the gold medal game, Team Canada defeated Puerto Rico, 73-48, which simultaneously qualified the program for the 2014 FIBA World Championsip. The Cuban National Team got the best of the Canadian side in the tournament finale, 79-71. The Canadian National Team earned bronze medals during each of the previous four years competing at the FIBA Americas Championship.

Tatham finished with 1,186 career points at UMass, averaging 10.3 per game played. The Toronto, Ontario, native also pulled down 754 rebounds and dished out 226 assists over 115 appearances and 112 starts for the Minutewomen.

Basketball Champions Center Construction Begins
The UMass Athletic Department began its latest construction project during the beginning days of August when building the Basketball Champions Center began. The fencing surrounding the location of construction was put in place while existing light fixtures illuminating the surrounding athletic fields have been removed.

The facility is scheduled to be completed by Fall 2014 and will give the basketball programs a dedicated practice and training facility. At $28.5 million, it will be a 53,000 square foot complex that will be the new home for program daily operations.

The ground floor will consist of the primary player development areas of the facility. In addition to the two full-size practice courts, the lower level will house the player's lounge and locker rooms, the sports medicine and weight rooms, theater-style film room, dining area, laundry facilities and equipment storage

A Legacy Hall dedicated to the tradition and history of both programs will run the length of the East corridor and lead to a tunnel connecting the Champions Center to the Mullins Center.

The upper level will consist of office suites and conference rooms for both programs, and an entry foyer with a VIP lounge and balcony overlooking both practice courts.

A live Internet web stream similar to the one at the Football Performance Center at McGuirk Stadium will go online in the coming months to track the progress as well. The facility will also be used for campus events such as intramural basketball championships.

Both basketball and football projects are slated to be online and ready for use in Summer/Fall 2014 and represent what has been a major facility enhancement effort for athletics over the last decade.

Clearing The Boards
Rashida Timbilla showed the ability to out-maneuver her marking opponents to grab rebounds consistently on offense and defense as a freshman in 2012-13. Over the course of the 29-game campaign, Timbilla ripped down a team-high 241 rebounds, including 110 off of the offensive glass. Her season total marked the seventh-most in the Atlantic 10, making her the only underclassman in the top-15 and the lone freshman among the 20 best in the conference.

Timbilla's ability to secure boards following a missed UMass shot attempt led her to finish with 3.8 offensive rebounds per game in 2012-13, the third-highest total in the Atlantic 10 behind Charlotte's Amanda Dowe (5.1 per game) and Jennifer Hailey (4.5). Not to be counted out on the other side of the court, Timbilla finished tied for 12th in defensive rebounds with 4.5 per game.

Among all first-year players in UMass women's basketball history, Timbilla's 241 rebounds ranks as the second-highest total for a freshmen in the 45-year history of the program.

Four Join Massachusetts Women's Basketball For 2013-14 Season
Four newcomers will make their Minutewomen debuts during the 2013-14 season, including freshmen Kymber Hill, Alyx Stiff and Meredith Tarver, along with junior college transfer Paula Tarnachowicz.

Hill is coming off of a four-year career with the Althoff Catholic Crusaders, where she helped the program accumulate three conference titles. Stiff, a 5-foot-9 guard, averaged 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals as a senior at Quest Preparatory Academy while being named a top-20 underclassman and Next Level Elite 100 Phenom during her scholastic career. Tarver was an all-region and North Fulton All-Metro Team honoree at Northview High School while helping the Georgia Pistols AAU program to a division championship.

Joining the trio of freshmen newcomers is Tarnachowicz, a transfer from Panola College in Carthage, Texas. While at Panola College, the Gdynia, Poland, native helped the squad to a Region XIV Conference Tournament appearance while hitting 44.2 percent of her field goal attempts.

Dillon Ready To Make An Impact
After sitting out the 2012-13 season as per NCAA transfer regulations, guard Amber Dillon will be eligible to compete for UMass women's basketball as a redshirt-sophomore during the 2013-14 season. The 5-foot-2 native of Jamaica Plain, Mass., projects as a point guard in tandem with sophomore Nola Henry.

At the University of Maine, Dillon competed as a freshman during the 2011-12 campaign. She appeared in 27 games on the year, including seven starts for the Black Bears. Dillon finished the season with 2.7 points per contest over an average of 13.4 minutes played during each game.

At Brookline High School, Dillon was a 1,000-point scorer and three-time all-star selection. She averaged 18 points, five assists and three steals per game as a senior team captain in 2010-11 and won a bronze medal while playing in Europe at the Junior Olympics.

 

 

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