Tough Test Awaits UMass At No. 7/6 Notre Dame
Nov. 17, 2012
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Scouting Notre Dame Women's Basketball
The Fighting Irish have a pair of clutch performers from a season ago returning for 2012-13, including Skylar Diggins, who was a teammate of Minutewomen senior center Jasmine Watson during their scholastic playing days. Diggins averaged 16.8 points per game as a junior in 2011-12 while adding 5.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds in each contest.
Joining Diggins in returning is Kayla McBride, who chipped in 11.6 points and 4.6 board per game as a sophomore one year ago. The Fighting Irish will be without the help of a trio of starters from 2011-12, including Natalie Novosel, Devereaux Peters and Brittany Mallory - all of who graduated. Combined, the three then-seniors tallied 32.8 points and 16.1 rebounds per game.
The Fighting Irish enter the contest with the Minutewomen owning a 1-0 record courtesy of a 57-51 victory over #19/21 Ohio State on Friday, Nov. 9. The game was played on the USS Yorktown docked in Charleston, S.C., the first collegiate women's basketball contest to be played on an aircraft carrier.
Last Time Against The Fighting Irish
UMass' points, field goals made (25) and attempted (61), three-pointers made (4) and attempted (13) as well as the team's free throw percentage (.750; 18-24) all mark single-game bests for the team in WNIT action.
Last Time Out: Minutewomen Fall To Quinnipiac, 81-72
After tying at 6-6 through 3:16 of play, Quinnipiac pulled ahead of the Minutewomen with a 23-13 run ending with a 29-19 lead at the 13:27 mark following a Felicia Barron layup. However, UMass cut into the deficit over the remainder of the half to pull within five of the Bobcats at the break, 40-35.
The UMass offense produced a 8-2 run to open the second half and pull the Minutewomen ahead, 43-42 at the 17:08 mark. Watson opened scoring in the stanza with a set of free throws while Bomben added a jumper and Timbilla pushed UMass into the one-point lead with a layup. After Quinnipiac rallied to move back in front, 47-55 with 13:30 left in the contest, the remainder game featured back-and-forth action.
The Minutewomen answered the Bobcats spurt of offense with eight consecutive points on a pair of layups from Timbilla, a set of free throws by Harris and a bucket by Watson to pull even at 55-55 with 11:08 remaining. However, Quinnipiac followed with five consecutive points on free throws by Brittany McQuain and Felicia Barron to pull ahead for good, 60-55. UMass twice cut its deficit to just one point but was unable to forge a lead over the remaining nine minutes of action.
Rodney hit back-to-back attempts to whittle to deficit back to one, 60-59 with 7:58 to play. After Camryn Warner added a layup and Shanna Earle converted a free throw to stake the Bobcats to a 63-59 advantage, Harris connected on a three-pointer from the left wing with 6:27 left to draw UMass within a bucket of re-taking a slim lead. Barron responded for Quinnipiac with four consecutive points before Ellen Cannon added a three-pointer with 3:35 remaining to push the Bobcats' lead to 71-64.
Sophomore forward Kim Pierre-Louis finished with seven points and five rebounds in nine minutes on the floor while redshirt-junior Kiara Bomben added seven boards, a team-high six assists and six points. Barron's 26 points paced the Bobcats while McQuain and Gillian Abshire added 10 a piece. Barron was 6-for-15 from the floor while converting 12-of-13 from the charity stripe.
UMass Routs Kent State, 83-53 In Season-Opener
Watson, who went 8-for-11 from the floor in her 10th career 20-point game, also chipped in with eight rebounds, four blocks, four steals and three assists in 31 minutes on the floor. Sophomore Emily Mital followed with a career-best 16 points and was aided by a 4-for-6 afternoon from beyond the arc.
In their debuts as Minutewomen, redshirt junior Kiara Bomben and freshman Rashida Timbilla both reached double figures with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Timbilla also hauled in 10 boards to complete her double-double, including five on the offensive glass. Bomben snagged four steals and senior Dee Montgomery dished a career-best 11 assists, her second with 10 or more helpers.
All 14 UMass players who dressed for the contest saw action with 11 draining buckets in the Minutewomen's highest scoring output since Nov. 28, 2010 at East Carolina. Redshirt sophomore Millie Niggeling paced the UMass bench with seven points, shooting a perfect 3-for-3 on the day.
The Minutewomen maintained the double-digit cushion following the intermission as Kent State could draw no closer than 13 the rest of the way. UMass led by 32 with 2:05 remaining, it's largest advantage of the day.
Watson Named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week
Watson finished the contest against the Golden Flashes with a team-high 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the floor and a 5-for-8 day at the free throw line. Watson also tallied eight rebounds while adding four blocks and four steals to the winning effort.
Watson Tallies 1,000 Career Point
Using her 10th collegiate game of 20 or more points, Watson became just the 18th member to the illustrious club and now stands 14 points from overtaking Beth Wilbor (1985-89) for 17th in career scoring.
Timbilla Nets Double-Double In First Collegiate Game
All That Jas Senior Jasmine Watson, UMass' top returning scorer, was named to the Preseason All-Atlantic 10 Second Team - the third consecutive year Watson has earned a spot on the all-conference listing released prior to the start of the season.
Watson played in and started all 29 UMass contests as a junior and paced the Minutewomen with 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds during the 2011-12 campaign. Watson recorded a team-best 48 blocks, hit 49.0 percent of her field goal attempts (141-of-288) and averaged 28.7 minutes played per game.
Watson scored double-digits in points in 21 games in 2011-12, including reaching double-double status in four contests. The South Bend, Ind., native also led UMass in rebounding on 15 occasions.
Three games into her fourth season at UMass, Watson has totaled 1,034 career points (12.3 ppg), 583 rebounds (7.0 rpg) and 132 blocks (1.6 bpg). Watson, the 2009-10 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, is currently fifth on the program's all-time list for career blocks and ranks third in blocked shots per game.
In her six games as a starter, Mital has made the most of her opportunities, averaging 10.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per-game while shooting 23-for-49 (46.9 pct) from the field, including 12-for-23 (52.2 pct) from behind the arc.
On three occasions, Mital has reset her single-game career-high in points scored during the span of starts. The sophomore guard produced 11 points against Rhode Island on Feb. 22, 2012 as a freshman before notching another personal best with 16 against Kent State during UMass' 2012-13 season-opener on Nov. 10. Mital followed with a 22-point outburst at Central Connecticut on Nov. 13, shooting 8-for-13 from the floor, including 6-for-10 from behind the arc, to add her first 20-point performance with the Minutewomen. Mital's six three-pointers ties the sophomore for fifth-most in a single contest in program history, only one shy of equaling the program mark of seven most recently achieved by Megan Zullo against Duquesne on Jan. 25, 2012.
Bomben, Montgomery and Watson Named 2012-13 Team Captains
Watson enters her senior season looking to become the 18th member of the Minutewomen's 1,000-points club, starting the year just 20 points shy of the 1,000-mark. Montgomery is also set to use her experience to guide the Minutewomen as a senior, beginning the campaign with 72 appearances and 22 starts. Bomben will be seeing her first minutes at UMass as a redshirt-junior after spending the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Program Earns 500th Win At Siena
To secure the decision, four Minutewomen earned double-figures, including 14 points each from Emilie Teuscher and Megan Zullo. Now-senior Jasmine Watson contributed a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards while current-redshirt-junior Carolann Cloutier added 10 points and four assists.
Coming From Near And Far
Millie Niggeling is the first women's basketball student-athlete in program history from Iowa, while Canada is represented by three Minutewomen; Kim Pierre-Louis (Ontario), Carolann Cloutier (Quebec) and Rashida Timbilla (Ontario) and Kiara Bomben originally hails from Australia.
Jasmine Harris, Adriana Jordan and Aisha Rodney represent Michigan while two players are from within the Massachusetts borders in Amber Dillon and Victoria Stewart. UMass also has one student-athlete each from Indiana (Jasmine Harris), New Jersey (Nola Henry), Ohio (Ronni Grandison), Tennessee (Dee Montgomery) and Texas (Emily Mital).
New Minutewomen Faces
Bomben transferred to UMass prior to the 2011-12 season and was required to sit out the campaign as per NCAA policy. The Australia native spent her first two seasons with Florida Gulf Coast before transferring and will be looked upon as a leader on an off the floor in 2012-13 as Bomben was named a captain with seniors Dee Montgomery and Jasmine Watson.
Henry started at point guard for Trenton Catholic (N.J.) during the squad's run to the NJSIAA Non-Public 8 Championship in 2010-11 while Harris averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds for North Farmington (Mich.) as a senior in 2011-12. Jordan was twice named an all-state recipient at Port Huron (Mich.) and won the Nike National Championship with the U-15 Motor City Suns. Stewart is a local product, hailing from Amherst, and was named a Franklin-Hampshire County All-Star and Daily Hampshire Gazette First Team honor at Amherst-Pelham Regional. Timbilla played one year for prep school Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.) after attending John McCrae Secondary in Ontario, where she average more than 20 points and 14 rebounds per game in 2010-11.
Women's Basketball Radio Show On WMUA
Octavia Thomas Selected To UMass Hall Of Fame
The No. 2 scorer in program history, Thomas was a major force in the program's resurgence in the mid-1990's. During her career from 1993-1996, Thomas helped turn a program that had won nine total games in the previous three seasons into one that made the WNIT and the NCAA tournaments during her junior and senior campaigns.