UMass women’s basketball stops scoring in loss at Saint Louis

  • Destiney Philoxy and the UMass women’s basketball team struggled to score in the second half of a 63-53 loss at Saint Louis on Sunday. COURTESY SAINT LOUIS ATHLETICS

  • Sam Breen scored a season-low five points, as the Minutewomen fell at Saint Louis on Sunday. COURTESY SAINT LOUIS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/24/2021 6:38:55 PM

Four and a half minutes without a basket effectively ended the UMass women’s basketball team’s winning streak.

The Minutewomen scored just six points in the third quarter of a 63-52 defeat at Saint Louis in Atlantic 10 action on Sunday.

UMass sophomore Sydney Taylor tied the game at 33 with a driving layup with 5 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Minutewomen didn’t score again until Danielle Sanderlin stuck back an offensive rebound with 1:01 remaining.

In between, the Billikens (3-3, 1-3 Atlantic 10) scored eight straight points and pulled away. Saint Louis led by as many as 16 points in the second half.

“When you don’t score you can’t allow that to take you out of the game defensively,” UMass coach Tory Verdi said. “In the second half we got out-toughed. And that’s the part I’m disappointed with.”

UMass freshman Makennah White cut the Billikens’ advantage to six just 31 seconds into the fourth, but Rachel Kent and Ciaja Harbison splashed back to back 3s to push the lead to 12, sparking a 10-0 run that put the game out of reach. The Minutewomen didn’t score for 4:14 during that stretch and didn’t pull closer than nine afterward.

UMass (9-3, 5-2) couldn’t keep up or catch up because it struggled shooting. The Minutewomen made just 26.2 percent of their field goals, and only 61.1 percent of their free throws.

Verdi said UMass only converted 6-of-24 layups.

“We just stopped scoring. When you miss layups, and we took some ill-advised shots as well, I call those shooting turnovers. It caught up with us,” Verdi said. “Our lack of offensive execution and our lack of offensive production affected who we were defensively, as well. You can’t stop playing defense when you struggle offensively.”

Saint Louis held UMass’ leading scorer Sam Breen to a season-low five points on 2-of-14 shooting. She still grabbed 11 rebounds. Taylor tried to pick up the slack with 17 points, hitting two 3s.

The Minutewomen built an eight-point lead with 1:07 left in the first half, but the Billikens shaved that down to four at the half.

Harbison rebounded from a poor game Friday with 18 points, one of four Saint Louis players in double figures. Kent added 13, while Brooke Flowers had 11 and 21 rebounds Myriama and Smith Taore contributed 10.

Overall, UMass split its two-game series after beating Saint Louis on Friday. The Minutewomen are now tied for second in the A-10 standings with Fordham and Rhode Island. They’re all chasing Dayton, which is currently paused because of COVID-19 protocols and isn’t scheduled to play until at least Jan. 31.

UMass has been on the road eight of the past 14 days after three consecutive games away from the Mullins Center.

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

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