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.
Losing streak reaches double-digits: Already the longest of the Sharon Dawley era, UMass’ losing streak now sits at 10 games after the loss to Charlotte. The Minutewomen will have three more opportunities (vs. Duquesne, at Saint Joseph’s, vs. Xavier) to snap the skid before it extends into next season.
Second-half surge: Whatever message Dawley sent to the team in the locker room at halftime obviously hit home, because UMass played like a completely different team in the second half. After being outscored by 24 points in the opening 20 minutes by a clearly superior 49ers team, the Minutewomen responded after the break, going blow-for-blow with Charlotte’s 38 points with 43 of their own. Rashida Timbilla and Jasmine Watson, especially, elevated their play in the second half, scoring a combined 19 points after netting just six together before halftime.
Pierre-Louis shows heart: Another player who showed some impressive grit with her effort was Kim Pierre-Louis. Kim, who has most often been brought into games in late situations where the outcome has already been decided, played her heart out tonight. She’s never been one to back down from an opponent, but tonight especially, you could tell the other Minutewomen were drawing from her effort.
Up next: With only three games left on the 2012-13 schedule, the Minutewomen will get a few days off before hosting Duquesne at the Mullins Center on Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.
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.
Refs swallowing their whistles: I think most people would say they prefer a game in which the referees are all but invisible, but the Minutewomen might not agree. At least not on a night when UMass hasn’t attempted a single free throw. Bowling Green has only attempted four (making all of them). It would behoove the Minutewomen to get a little more aggressive defensively if the refs are just going to let them play.
Second-chance points: Offensive rebounding and second-chance scoring has generally been a bright spot for UMass this season, but the opposite has been true tonight. Bowling Green is leading the Minutewomen 10-2 in second-chance points, making good on six offensive rebounds to UMass’ two. Calling Rashida Timbilla?
3-pointers not falling: UMass and Bowling Green have combined for 20 3-point shot attempts in the game’s first 20 minutes. Only four have found their mark (3-1 in favor of the Falcons). That’s not good.
Close but no cigar: You’ve got to give UMass credit in this one. There was a point early in the second half when it looked like this one might be slipping away from the Minutewomen. It could’ve started snowballing on them like it has at time this year. But they fought back, valiantly and, with some luck, could’ve realistically won this one late. Sure, UMass, made a lot of the same mistakes that has sunk it time and time again this season, but the grit it displayed late against the Hawks was nice.
Foul trouble: It’s hard to win a basketball game when you’re constantly putting the opponent on the free throw line for easy points. That’s especially so against a good foul shooting team like Hartford. So, when the Hawks finish this game with a 35-14 foul shot differential (UMass coach Sharon Dawley expressed confusion afterwards about how lopsided these totals were), you know something has gone wrong for UMass. Hartford coach Jennifer Rizzotti said after the game that she didn’t feel the Minutewomen adjusted to the quick whistles that the refs brought to the game tonight, and I couldn’t agree more. Those extra 15 points the Hawks scored off UMass’ physicality was the difference in this game.
Roth rocks it: Hartford redshirt freshman center Katie Roth had herself quite the shooting night, scoring 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including five free throw makes. It doesn’t quite show up in her modest rebound total (4), but Roth also got after it without the ball in her hands. Rizzotti said afterwards that the young Roth, who made her mark in only 22 minutes, still hasn’t really settled into the player she can be either.
Two for the money: With freshman phenom Rashida Timbilla forced to the sidelines for a long stretch of the second half due to foul trouble, much of the night’s scoring burden fell on sophomore 3-point specialist Emily Mital and senior co-captain Jasmine Watson. They responded nicely, combining for 37 points on 14-of-27 shooting. Mital, especially, had to fight for her scoring chances tonight, as Hartford made a special point of shadowing her all over the court. Coach Rizzotti said after the game that she’s glad her team doesn’t have to deal with Watson anymore this season, something most coaches can attest to.
Coming up short time and again: More so than in the first half, UMass had opportunity after opportunity to make a big shot or get a big turnover and take a lead late in the game. The game flow seemed to fall into the below pattern and it really killed the Minutewomen:
UMass would fall five or six points behind
UMass would scrap back to tie the game or cut it to one
Quinnipiac would make a big shot or force a big turnover
Everything’s bigger in Texas (including Mital’s shoes to fill): I don’t like making these kind of statements, but I will: UMass would’ve won this game had Emily Mital not been scratched with back spasms (she is day-to-day, but coach Sharon Dawley said she doesn’t expect to have Tex for Sunday’s road tilt with Notre Dame). That’s how important Mital is to the Minutewomen, especially on a night when one or two well-time 3-point shots would’ve fully shifted the game’s momentum late in regulation. Freshman guard Jasmine Harris played admirably in her first career start in Mital’s absence, but, ultimately, didn’t get the job done (3-of-17 shooting, 3-of-8 3-pt)
No rest for the weary: Dawley said after the game that the consistently tremendous play of freshman forward Rashida Timbilla has forced her hand — even when winded late in games, Dawley can’t afford to take her freshman star off the floor. “Too bad,” Dawley said about Timbilla being tired after leading the team in minutes for back-to-back games. Jasmine Watson struggled a bit on offense (6-0f-14 shooting), which made Timbilla’s play all the more valuable.
Barron shines in homecoming: Quinnipiac senior guard Felicia Barron is the heart and soul of her team, and her coach admitted as much after the game, saying Barron (who tore her ACL in both her freshman and sophomore seasons) is the main reason the Bobcats have a legitimate shot at an NCAA Tournament berth this year. She scored 26 points (including going 12-of-13 from the line) and played fantastically on the defensive end in front of her western Massachusetts family and friends. It was a big night for Felicia Barron.
UMass Player of the Game: Rashida Timbilla
17 points (7-of-8), 9 rebounds (7 offensive), 4 assists, 1 block, 2 steals in a team-high 37 minutes
Up next for the Minutewomen
At #7 Notre Dame (1-0, 0-0 Big East), Sunday Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.
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