Timbilla in control: Rashida Timbilla played the strongest first half of her teammates in the penultimate game of her freshman campaign. Along with eight points, Timbilla has grabbed eight boards, four on other side of the ball. She is 3-of-8 from the field and added a pair from the line. Furthermore, her three assists also comprise half of the teams dimes and while on defense she has three steals. Her presence in the key on the boards has been a catalyst for the Minutewomen because of Jasmine Watson’s foul trouble.
Foul trouble for the Minutwomen: Jasmine Watson only registered eight minutes in the first twenty, having to come off with two fouls early on. Fortunately, Watson’s absence has not made it hard for the team with Timbilla stepping up and Emily Mital being able to find her shooting touch. Aisha Rodney has also offered up six points and three boards in the Watson’s place. Timbilla is also in trouble with two personal fouls of her own, however her level of play has forced UMass coach Sharon Dawley to keep her on the floor. Watson’s fellow senior teammate Dee Montgomery also has a pair of fouls
Jessica Pachko big for XU: Xavier closed out the half with 24 points, half of which came through their center Jessica Pachko. Her early frustrations resulted in a warning from the refs, but after a brief cooling off period on the bench Pachko has kept the Musketeers competitive in the game. With much of the teams offense running through her, the XU big has showcased her ability to cut sharply in the key to get to the hoop for easy lay ups, while also requiring a defender down low to free up space in the zone.
Timbilla’s board presence: With both teams struggling from the field rebounding has been key for both. Timbilla has taken seven down, with two on the offensive end. Add along her six points and Timbilla is putting together a solid game, playing a majority of the first half. Her strength has been immense in settling the UMass defense and her size and length have quelled a number of Temple of attacks as she pulls in rebounds.
Shooters struggling: It hasn’t been a pretty game offensively. The Minutewomen have gone 11-of-34 from the field and Temple are no better at showing the Minutewomen up on their own court, shooting 9-of-33. Jasmine Watson has seen a pair of mid-range jumpers that have never been her shot go off target, while Cloutier’s 1-of-5 from three-point has left her with only two makes from six in the first half. Bomben has shone for the Minutewomen, dispatching three buckets from five including a half time buzzer-beater to bring the game within 1.
Temple taking threes: Three point shots has been the Owl’s main vehicle to scoring points. Shooting just over 30% on the year coming into the game, Temple has take 15 shots out of 33 from deep and sunk six of them. Tyonna Williams’ three makes have come from three, her only three field goals of the game. Rateska Brown is in the very same boat. With 18 of their 26 points in the game from the three point shot the Minutewomen will need to pressure the shooter when they come out of the locker room.
Out of their league: Admittedly, today’s outcome wasn’t really much of a surprise. On the road against a the No. 17 team in the nation, the Minutewomen had the deck stacked against them coming in. But today was especially disappointing for UMass. Committing 31 turnovers is unacceptable against any opponent. The Minutewomen were visibly browbeaten at times today, and it showed in their efforts getting after loose balls, boxing out, etc. UMass coach Sharon Dawley probably wants to tear her hair out after this final. This might just be one of those games when the coaching staff burns the game film and moves on.
Harris makes the most of it: On a day when no single player really distinguished themselves, freshman Jasmine Harris put together a nice little afternoon, scoring eight points (including a 3-point make) and grabbing five rebounds in only 15 minutes. She had another excellent look from three, as well, but it rimmed out.
Watson frustrated: Five fouls, six points, 17 minutes. That line says it all.
Up next: UMass heads back home now to host La Salle on Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. at the Mullins Center.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers: Stop me if you’ve heard this before this season, but UMass has struggled to put anything offensively whatsoever against Dayton in the first half due almost entirely to its penchant for turning the ball over. Four of the Minutewomen’s first five possession’s ended with a turnover, and the Flyers jumped out to a lead they haven’t come close to relinquishing. Nola Henry, Carolann Coutier and Millie Niggeling each have four turnovers. Dayton has 21 points off those giveaways. It’s been really, really ugly for UMass so far.
Perimeter defense stifling UMass: In addition to the turnovers, the Dayton defense has done a tremendous job of harassing UMass ball handlers at the top of the key, forcing the Minutewomen’s guards into bad entry passes and awful looks at the rim with little to no time left on the shot clock. It’s a very frustrating predicament for a team that is in search of just a few consecutive baskets to get things going.
Watson on the bench: Dayton went out of its way to frustrate Jasmine Watson in the first half, and it’s largely been successful. Watson has four points for UMass, but also collected three personal fouls in the process, including a silly violation at the very end of the half that will likely keep her sidelined after the break.