UMass women’s hoop picked 15th in A-10 poll
AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts women’s basketball team will have to outperform the expectations of the Atlantic 10 preseason poll if it is going to make the Atlantic 10 tournament.
UMass was picked 15th in the 16-team league in the poll that was released during the league’s media day conference call. Only the top 12 teams make the postseason tournament at Saint Joseph’s. The championship game will be at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. on March 16 at 7 p.m., the night before the men’s championship at the same location.
UMass senior center Jasmine Watson was named to the second all-conference team after averaging 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds last year.
Minutewomen coach Sharon Dawley hoped her team’s improved ability to run would lead to better results after finishing 8-21 last year.
“We will be able to run the floor a lot better this year and be able to get Jasmine Watson more good looks with the guards we have surrounding her,” Dawley said. “She is quite a force when we get her the ball when she needs it and we had difficulties with that in the past. I predict she will look better and our running game will look better.”
Dawley said this feels like a young team.
“We are returning eight players, but we have four freshmen that we predict will be playing quite a bit and a transfer (Kiara Bomben) that is eligible to play this year as well,” she said. “We feel very young at this point, but along with that we are very excited that we have a lot of depth and a lot of new faces and we will be able to inject more scoring and speed into the lineup than we have had in the past.”
The Minutewomen open the season at home on Nov. 10 against Kent State at 2 p.m.
MEN’S EXHIBITION TIME, LOCATION SET — UMass’ Nov. 3 exhibition against American International is now at 1 p.m. at the Mullins Center. The game was originally set for later in the afternoon at Curry Hicks Cage, but the Atlantic 10 field hockey tournament finals are at nearby Garber Field which would have created unnecessary congestion.
UMass will not host a game at the Cage this year.
SCHEDULE CHANGES — UMass’ Jan. 13 men’s game at Fordham has been moved to 1 p.m. It will now be carried on the YES Network.
UMass is expected to announce shortly that the Dec. 15 game against Elon will be played at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.
While the Minutemen can still add one more nonconference game, it’s unlikely that they will at this point in the season.
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.