UMass Looks To Defend '08 Brown Classic Title
Minutewomen will open up at the tournament on Saturday at 1 p.m. against the host Brown Bears.
Cerie Mosgrove was a member of the Brown Bear Classic all-tournament team in 2008.
Dec. 3, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. -
The UMass women's basketball team will wrap up its stretch of five straight games on the road as the squad will head to Providence, R.I., for the Brown Bear Classic. To open up, the Minutewomen will face host Brown on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m., and will either take on Morgan State or Quinnipiac on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m. Last season UMass came home with the 2008 Brown Bear Classic title after posting wins over Long Island and Brown.
The Minutewomen Briefly
The 2009-10 Minutewomen are a balanced squad with two seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and three freshman. Sophomore Kristina Danella is the team's top returning scorer. She averaged 9.3 points per-game as a freshman in 2008-09 and is one of two returning starters along with senior Diatiema Hill (5.3 ppg, 2.9 apg in '08-'09). UMass was tabbed 11th in the A-10 preseason poll.
About The Brown Bears
The Bears come off a 2008-2009 season where they posted a 3-25 record.
Brown's frontcourt features the return of four players, including three of last year's starters. The group is led by senior Natalie Bonds, who averaged 10 points and six rebounds last year in Ivy League play. In 2009-10, Bonds has totaled 30 rebounds thus far, averaging 4.3 per game.
Brown's backcourt is led by senior guard and captain Courtney Lee, who led the Ivy League last year with 68 steals, averaging 2.4 per-game, and was ranked seventh in overall assists with 87, averaging 3.1 per-game.
Christina Johnson leads the Bears in rebounding (4.9), assists (1.4) and points (11.3) per-game through seven contests. Johnson has also made 32 of her attempted 35 free throws.
About The Quinnipiac Bobcats
Quinnipiac enters the weekend with a 1-3 record; its lone victory came against New Hampshire, 68-54.
The Bobcats are picked fifth in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. In 2008-09, Quinnipiac finished tied for third in NEC standings with an 11-7 conference record.
Redshirt freshman Felicia Barron is the team's top scorer with an average of 12.3 points per-game. She also leads the team in steals (12) and assists (16). Barron returns to the court after sustaining an injury that limited her to just eight games last season.
The Bobcats also welcome back Courtney Kaminski after she sustained an injury that forced her to sit out the 2008-2009 season. She has scored 45 points and averages 11.3 per-game.
Sophomore Jacinda Dunbar has brought down a squad-best 31 rebounds, averaging 7.8 per-game.
The Lady Bobcats graduated three starting guards from 2008-2009. Lisa Lebak and Ryann Simmons will compete for these starting positions.
About The Morgan State Lady Bears
The Lady Bears are picked to finish this season in fourth place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason poll after coming off a 2008-2009 season with a 17-13 record, placing them fifth in the conference.
Morgan State enters the weekend with a 3-3 record, including wins over North Carolina Central (75-38), Seton Hall (58-55) and Murray State (83-74).
Corin "Tiny" Adams is the top scorer for the Lady Bears, averaging 19.2 points per-game. She has recorded 115 points, 31 of them coming from Morgan State's opener at UNC-Greensboro. Adams is the program's all-time leading scorer with 1,592 points.
Georgien Williams leads the team in rebounds with 45, averaging 7.5 per game. Erin Hawkins has dished a squad-best 19 assists.
UMass and Brown will meet for the ninth time since beginning the series on Feb. 5, 1977. The Minutewomen hold an 8-0 all-time record against the Bears.
UMass has never faced Quinnipiac or Morgan State. In 2008-09 the Minutewomen went 4-0 against first time opponents (Manhattan, Colorado, Long Island and NJIT).
Last Time Against Brown
With the help of a blistering 63.2% shooting in the second half, the UMass women's basketball team captured the 2008 Brown Bear Classic title with a 64-41 victory over Brown on Dec. 7 in the Pizzitola Sports Center.
Senior Stefanie Gerardot had her third 20-point game of the season and fourth of her career at UMass with 22 on 7-for-11 shooting, 6-for-10 from three-point range, and was named to the Brown Bear Classic All-Tournament Team. Sophomore Cerie Mosgrove chipped in with 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting from three and was an all-tournament team selection, as well.
Freshman Kristina Danella had a breakout game on the boards with 11 rebounds to lead the squad and also added six points. Senior Sakera Young dished a career-high 11 assists and totaled seven points, while sophomore Teya Wright contributed eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks in the victory.
After Brown began the game with a 5-2 lead, three straight treys by Mosgrove and Gerardot put the Minutewomen in front 11-5 and the squad never trailed again. UMass led by four at the half, 23-19, and shot 36% in the opening period to the Bears' 23.1% (6-for-26).
Then in the second half, the Minutewomen came out flying. After an opening layup by Natalie Bonds cut Brown's deficit to two, but a pair of free throws by Wright and two consecutive three-pointers by Gerardot gave UMass a 10-point advantage, 31-21, at the 17:32 mark. The Minutewomen led by double figures for the final 12:09 of the contest and held their largest margin of the night, 27, with 5:20 to play.
UMass limited the Bears to a mere 12-for-55 (21.8%) shooting from the field for the game and 21.7% (5-for-23) from three-point range. The Minutewomen finished shooting 47.7% (21-for-44) overall and went 11-for-24 (45.8%) from beyond the arc. Eleven made three-pointers matches the program single game record set earlier this season at Colorado on Nov. 28.
Karly Grace was the lone Brown scorer to reach double figures with 11 points, while Bonds was the team's top rebounder with eight, while Courtney Lee dished five assists.
Leading The Way
Sophomore Kristina Danella has led the Minutewomen in scoring in five of seven games thus far with 21 points against BU, 16 vs. St. John's, 14 at New Hampshire, 21 vs. Rice and 14 against Miami. She was the top point-producer eight times in 2008-09 as a freshman.
Danella grabbed a squad-best nine boards against the Hurricanes, the seventh time in her career she has been the leading rebounder for the Minutewomen.
Trailing only Kim Benton, Danella is second among active Minutewomen players in career scoring with 384 points. In career rebounds, she is second behind Diatiema Hill with 181.
As the Minutewomen's leading scorer with an average of 15.0 points per-game, Danella begins the weekend ranked sixth in the Atlantic 10 in scoring. She is third in the A-10 in minutes played (3.39 per-game), tied for ninth in three-point field goals per-game (1.6) and is 11th in three-point field goal percentage (.423).
Streak At The Stripe
Sophomore Kristina Danella has sunk 27 straight free throws in a streak that has spanned four games (she did not attempt a free throw at Northeastern). Her last miss came at 12:34 of the second half against St. John's on Nov. 11. She has made 32 of her last 33 attempts at the charity stripe and is 42-for-47 overall (89.4%), which ranks fourth in the Atlantic 10.
Her streak of 27 is the the second longest by a Minutewoman in program history. Kathy Coyner made 31 consecutive free throws from Nov. 14, 1998 (St. John's) to Dec. 15, 1998 (Texas A&M).
Danella was a perfect 12-for-12 at the line against Rice, tying a school record for single game free throw percentage (minimum 10 attempts), last achieved 16 years ago by Melissa Gurile (15-for-15) on Dec. 11, 1993 vs. Providence.
She went 10-for-14 at the line in UMass' overtime win against Boston University in the season opener, including sinking three to tie the score at 67 with 17 seconds remaining in regulation. Danella then made five of her six free throws in the extra period, accounting for nearly half of the squad's points.
On The Line
As a team, UMass currently boasts the best free throw percentage in the Atlantic 10, 78.5% (113-144). The Minutewomen's 95.7% (22-23) outing against Rice is the best single game performance among A-10 teams this season, as well.
UMass' 95.7% shooting at the free throw line vs. Rice was the first time the squad had a single game free throw percentage above 90% since Dec. 3, 2008 vs. Providence (90%, 18-20).
The Minutewomen began the week ranked ninth in all of Division I in free throw percentage.
Seniors Rank High In the A-10
Seniors Kim Benton and Diatiema Hill rank are among the top of the Atlantic 10 in several statistical categories.
Benton has a team-best 14 steals on the year, which ties her for seventh in the conference with 2.0 per-game.
Hill is fourth in the A-10 in assists per-game (4.4) and has 27 on the season. She dished seven helpers against Rice, six at Miami and has led the team in assists in five of seven games thus far. Hill ranks third in the A-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8), as well.
Mosgrove Helping Out On The Glass
With an average of 3.9 rebounds per-game, junior Cerie Mosgrove has been chipping in along the glass for the Minutewomen.
Mosgrove, who had only posted five rebounds in a game once prior to the 2009-10 season, set a career high with six boards against St. John's, had five vs. Villanova and once again tied her personal best with six at Miami.
One To Watch
After posting three blocks in her collegiate debut, freshman Jasmine Watson found her scoring touch in her second game with the Minutewomen, pouring in 14 points in 24 minutes against St. John's on Nov. 18. Watson shot 5-for-10 from the field against the Red Storm and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line.
Following up that performance, Watson was the leading rebounder for the Minutewomen against New Hampshire with seven boards and had two steals.
Most recently, Watson poured in nine points and brought down eight in just 18 minutes on the floor against Miami. She enters the weekend tied for 12th in the Atlantic 10 in free throw percentage (.783, 18-23) and is tied for eighth in blocks per-game (1.1).
In-Season Tournament Success
The Minutewomen took home the runner-up trophy at the Wyndham Miami Thanksgiving Tournament after defeating Rice, 71-57, to advance to the championship game where the squad was narrowly defeated by the host Hurricanes. Sophomores Kristina Danella (17.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Nicole Jones (11.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.0 bpg) both represented UMass on the All-Tournament team.
UMass went 3-1 in in-season tournament games in 2008-09, finishing as the runner-up at the Coors Classic in Colorado and winning the Brown Bear Classic in Providence, R.I.
Current junior Cerie Mosgrove was an all-tournament team selection at both the Coors Classic and the Brown Bear Classic last season. She averaged 13.0 points per-game at the Coors Classic, including 17 points against Minnesota in the tournament championship game.
Not only did freshman Dee Montgomery score her first collegiate points on Dec. 2 at Northeastern, but managed to reach double figures for the first time as well, pouring in 10 points in just 13 minutes on the floor.
At the 4:37 mark in the second half, Montgomery sunk a three and made a free throw to successfully complete a four-point play.
Sharp Shooters Beyond The Arc
It was a record-breaking year beyond the arc for women's basketball in 2008-09 as the squad shattered the program's all-time mark for three-point field goals with 195 (previous mark was 117 in 2002-03). For the first time in school history, three Minutewomen registered 40 or more three-pointers in a season. The 2009-10 returnees accounted for 141 of those 195 treys, including Kristina Danella and Cerie Mosgrove whose final 2008-09 totals rank tied for first (58) and fourth (51), respectively, on the UMass single season list.
Three current Minutewomen, Kim Benton (fourth, 108), Cerie Mosgrove (9th, 75) and Kristina Danella (10th, 69) are among the all-time leaders for career three-point field goals.
With four threes against UNH, Mosgrove passed Alison MacFarland (67) for ninth on the list. Danella cracked the top-10 against Miami.
Jones Has Breakout Game Against Villanova
Sophomore Nicole Jones helped carry UMass to victory against Villanova, totaling 22 of the squad's 55 points and leading all rebounders with 12.
It marked career highs in both points and rebounds for the center, was her first career double-double, first career 20-point game, first career 10-rebound game and first time as UMass' top scorer.
Jones shot 9-for-11 (.818) in the contest, the best single-game shooting percentage for a Minutewoman since Pam Rosanio went 9-for-11 against Longwood on Jan. 3, 2008. Jones' 9-for-11 is also the second-best performance by any player in the Atlantic 10 this season.
Jones surpassed her freshman year scoring total (43 points in 23 games) just five games into her sophomore campaign.
Jones leads the Minutewomen and the Atlantic 10 with a .620 (31-50) field goal percentage. She ranks fourth in the conference with an average of 1.6 blocks per-game.
UMass' 79-73 overtime victory against Boston University was the first overtime game for the Minutewomen since Jan. 9, 2007, at Rhode Island (71-69 Loss) and the first at the Mullins Center since Jan. 16, 2003, an 89-80 win over Temple.
UMass' starting five (Kristina Danella, Nicole Jones, Cerie Mosgrove, Kim Benton and Diatiema Hill) played a huge role in the win over Boston University on Nov. 15, combining for 73 of the team's 79 points and contributing 29 of 44 rebounds.
Four of the five (Danella, Jones, Benton and Hill) scored in double figures, while Mosgrove was just shy with seven points. UMass had four scorers in double figures four times in 2008-09 (New Hampshire, NJIT, Temple and La Salle) and posted a 4-0 record in those contests.
Three of UMass' four newcomers saw action in the season opener against Boston University on Nov. 15, Megan Zullo, Shakia Robinson and Jasmine Watson all played their first games in a Minutewoman uniform. Robinson contributed six rebounds and Watson had three blocks, in 16 and 15 minutes on the floor, respectively. The fourth newcomer, Dee Montgomery, saw her first collegiate action against St. John's on Nov. 18.
Redshirt junior Megan Zullo, along with Kristina Danella, had a team-high 14 points against New Hampshire, her first time scoring in double figures as a Minutewoman.
Zullo drained four three-pointers, all in the first half, against the Wildcats and shot 4-for-7 from beyond the arc in the contest. As a team, UMass ended the evening shooting 11-for-24 (45.8%) from three-point range, including 8-for-14 (57.1%) in the first half.
The Minutewomen set the program record for three-pointers in a game last season with 14 against Northeastern on Dec. 20, 2008.
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