Ber’Nyah Mayo banks in winner with 0.5 seconds left as UMass takes down Richmond in OT

  • UMass guard Ber'Nyah Mayo, shown earlier this season against Harvard, made a game-winner Saturday against Richmond in overtime. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/15/2022 8:23:41 PM

Somehow, Ber’Nyah Mayo fit a running layup through two defenders and kissed it off the glass with 0.5 seconds left in overtime to lift the UMass women’s basketball team to a 73-72 Atlantic 10 win at Richmond on Saturday.

The wild affair featured 11 lead changes and 10 ties.

Richmond’s Addie Budnik had just sank a layup to put the Spiders up 72-71 before UMass called timeout with 4.4 seconds remaining. Once play resumed, Mayo, who finished with seven points, flashed above the 3-point line to receive the inbounds pass from Destiney Philoxy, narrowly avoiding a five-second call and a catastrophic turnover.

Sydney Taylor was UMass’ No. 1 option on the play and pulled Richmond’s defense into a compromised position with the threat of her shooting.

That opened a lane for Mayo, who dribbled hard right to the low block as three Spiders swarmed around her, flipping the shot between Cayla Williams and Molly Mraz. Kylee Lewandowski patrolled the paint a short distance away, guarding UMass forward Sam Breen to prevent a dish and an easy layup. Mayo’s more difficult attempt dropped, and the buzzer sounded to raucous celebration by UMass’ bench.

“Once you put the ball on the floor, I saw that she had an edge,” UMass coach Tory Verdi said. “I was like ‘this is going in.’ And by God, when she threw it up and it went in, it was a thing of beauty.”

Video review showed 0.5 seconds still stood between the Minutewomen and a second consecutive Atlantic 10 road win. Richmond couldn’t do anything with its half second, and UMass celebrated its fifth straight win for a second time.

Mayo’s bank shot was just the latest in a series of clutch baskets by the Minutewomen.

Philoxy (11 points, three steals) swished two free throws with 15 seconds remaining that made it 71-70 UMass. She was fouled on the fast break after a Sydney Taylor steal.

Breen sent the game to OT with fundamental footwork and a scoop layup with 22 seconds left that tied it at 63. Budnik missed a 3 at the buzzer that would have won it for Richmond.

Breen also knotted the game at 50 after three quarters with a buzzer-beater of her own. She led UMass (14-2, 2-0 A-10) with 19 points and 14 rebounds, her ninth double-double of the season.

“Regardless of what happened prior to, we made plays when we needed to make plays. We faced adversity. It was not perfect,” Verdi said. “It’s not always going to be easy, but we figured out how to win.”

Richmond (11-6, 2-2 A-10) led by as many as eight points in the first half, and UMass shot just 26.3 percent from the field before halftime. The Spiders led 32-28 at the half.

“We missed a lot of lay-ups in the first half, turned the ball over and didn’t play the way we are capable of playing,” Verdi said.

The Minutewomen hammered away at that lead behind a vicious offensive rebounding effort. They only shot 32.5 percent and made just 3-of-17 3s but pulled down 27 offensive rebounds. Compare that to 24 UMass defensive rebounds and 29 Richmond defensive rebounds.

That allowed the Minutewomen to attempt 80 field goals, while Richmond took 57 shots.

Four Minutewomen reached double figures. Taylor poured in 16 points, while Angelique Ngalakuloni also added a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

UMass bullied its way to 36 points in the paint and converted 21 points off 22 Richmond turnovers.

The Minutewomen have won their last five games, working through a COVID pause that postponed several contests and left them three weeks without a game.

They returned Wednesday with a double-digit win at VCU, the team that beat them for the conference championship last season, and made it a 2-0 trip to Richmond, Va., by taking down the Spiders.

UMass is off to its best start ever and received a vote in last week’s USA Today Coaches’ poll for the first time since 1995.

UMass will travel to play at Rhode Island in a rescheduled game from earlier this season on Monday night (6 p.m.).

The next home game comes against Dayton, who won the conference regular season title for the past two years and has qualified for 10 consecutive postseasons. The Flyers visit the Mullins Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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