BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston women's basketball raced out to a 23-9 lead after the first quarter and held on late, to earn a 70-59 win over the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in their 2017-18 season opener.
UMass Boston 70, Coast Guard 59
(UMass Boston 1-0)
(Coast Guard 0-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Freshman Joie Grassi (Plymouth, Mass.) poured in 12 of her game-high 18 points in the first half, to lead UMass Boston to their fourth season-opening win in the past six years. Grassi went 5-for-10 from the field, hit 3-of-4 three-pointers, and also pulled down six rebounds.
Sophomore Alecia Quinones (Stoughton, Mass.) just missed out on a double-double with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Senior Katie Mathieu (Coventry, Conn.) and freshman Megan Dixon (Hanover, Mass.) each added nine points, while freshman Jalani Jackson (Brockton, Mass.) paced the Beacons with four assists off the bench.
Coast Guard Brenna Farrington paced the team with 14 points in 18 minutes off the bench, while Micaela Martinelli and Zoe Riis-Fallica chipped in 11 and 10 points respectively. Gillian Gerton, the team's top scorer a year ago, finished with just seven points on 3-of-13 shooting.
UMass Boston jumped all over the Bears early. The Beacons raced out to a 7-2 lead in the opening two minutes, forcing a Coast Guard timeout. After Riis-Fallica went on a mini 5-0 run by herself to cut the deficit to 9-7, UMass Boston scored the next 14 points to put the game out of reach.
During the 14-0 run, Grassi and senior transfer Lydia Vital (Cambridge, Mass.) each hit 3-pointers and combined for 12 of the 14 points.
UMass Boston took a 23-9 lead into the first quarter break and kept the momentum going. Freshman Kalilah Hall (Cambridge, Mass.) pushed the lead out to 20 points late in the second quarter, before the Bears used a 5-0 run to go into the half trailing 38-23.
The Beacons appeared to be running away with the game in the third quarter, as a Dixon 3-pointer made it a 25-point game (56-31) with 3:09 to play. Dixon's three capped off a 12-1 run, in which Dixon knocked down three shots, and accounted for seven points.
Coast Guard wouldn't go down easily though. The Bears closed the gap to 21 points at the end of the third (58-37), and then took advantage of the Beacons' ice-cold shooting in the fourth quarter to get the game to within single digits.
Coast Guard opened the fourth quarter on a 17-2 run to cut the Beacons' lead to 60-54 with 4:38 remaining.
Grassi pushed the lead back to 10 though, as she knocked down one free throw and then drained a 3-pointer with 3:17 to play.
The Bears wouldn't get any closer than eight points the rest of the way, as the Beacons knocked down five of their final six free throws.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston played every available player in Wednesday's season opener. In total, 11 freshman made their collegiate debut and Vital made her first appearance in a Beacons' uniform. Five freshman scored their first collegiate points in the win.
- Wednesday's meeting was the first-ever contest between the two programs.
- UMass Boston shot 40.3 percent from the field and 31.8 percent (7-of-22) from distance.
- The Beacons earned a 46-41 edge in rebounds and forced 23 Coast Guard turnovers.
- Senior Raven Kelsey (Boston, Mass.) led the Beacons with four steals, to go along with her six points and eight rebounds.
- The Beacons earned a 30-12 edge in points in the paint.
UMass Boston will head to Dartmouth, Massachusetts this weekend for the 2017 Fairfield Inn & Suites Classic. The Beacons will take on Colby College on Friday at 2:00 p.m., before player Rivier University on Saturday at Noon.