BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston women's basketball finished the game on a 9-0 run, to earn their first-ever win in Boston over Little East Conference foe University of Southern Maine Wednesday night.
UMass Boston 71, University of Southern Maine 63
(UMass Boston 16-2, Little East 7-1)
(Southern Maine 9-9, Little East 6-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The win gave UMass Boston their first all-time win in Boston in 33 meetings against the Huskies. UMass Boston earned their first-ever win over Southern Maine in 2015 and have now defeated the Huskies in each of the past four seasons.
In matchup of two red-hot teams that are tied for second in the LEC, UMass Boston overcame a slow first 25 minutes, to move to 8-0 on the season at home.
Grassi scored 17 of her game-high 20 points in the second half, and added a team-high 12 rebounds and three blocks. The freshman forward also tacked on four assists and two steals in 35 minutes of action.
Osborne added on a career-high 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting and eight rebounds. She also played a career-high 27 minutes, after being limited to 20 minutes or fewer in her first eight games.
Mathieu was the Beacons' designated sharpshooter, as the senior posted a season-high 17 points. She tied her career-high with five made 3-pointers on seven total attempts.
Kimberly Howrigan led four Southern Maine starters in double-figures. Howrigan ended the night with 16 points and six rebounds, while Chantel Eells posted a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Point guard Alexa Srolovitz chipped in with 14 points, five assists and four steals and the team's leading scorer Kristen Curley tacked on 14 points on 5-11 shooting.
After a scoreless first 2:03, Southern Maine took and held the lead for the rest of a cagey first half.
UMass Boston would cut the deficit to a single possession, only to have Southern Maine come up with a timely basket to extend the lead out to seven, eight or nine points.
The Huskies led 29-20 with 2:15 to go in the second quarter, but UMass Boston closed out the half on a 7-0 run. Mathieu hit a 3-pointer off a Tajhai Mazyck (Hamden, Conn.) pass and then finished a layup off a great feed from Raven Kelsey (Boston, Mass.).
Kelsey added a layup to cut the deficit to 29-27, and Grassi added a key block on Eells, to keep the Beacons within striking deficit going into the break.
Southern Maine came roaring out of the break and extended their lead back to seven (43-36) with 4:28 to go in the third.
Grassi opened a Beacons flurry with a 3-pointer, only to have Eells answer with a layup. Mathieu canned a 3-pointer to get the game back within three and after a USM free throw, Osborne nailed a jumper to make it 46-44 with 2:05 left.
After a Huskies turnover, Osborne hit a layup to tie the game for the first time and Grassi grabbed an offensive rebound and hit the putback to make it 48-46 with 21 seconds left in the third.
UMass Boston's three-point lead wouldn't last very long. After an early basket from Grassi to start the fourth, the Huskies went on a 7-0 run to take the lead back with 6:33 to play.
The Beacons fought back from five points down to tie the game at 60-60 on a Grassi 3-pointer with 3:21 to play.
Osborne hit a layup to briefly give the Beacons the lead, but Srolovitz gave Southern Maine a 63-62 edge with 2:37 left.
That's when UMass Boston locked down on defense and went on their game-ending 9-0 run.
Grassi fed Mathieu for a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:47 to play (65-63) and the Beacons forced a turnover and a missed jumper on the Huskies next two possesions.
In the final 30 seconds with the Huskies forced to foul, Lydia Vital (Cambridge, Mass.) and Kelsey combined to go 6-6 at the line to put the game away.
BY THE NUMBERS
- With the win, UMass Boston improves to 4-69 all-time against the Huskies. After starting 0-67 all-time, the Beacons have won four of the past six meetings.
- The Beacons earned a 41-27 edge in rebounds and a 20-13 lead in assists.
- The two teams combined for two bench points, with the Beacons' Geanna Williams (Cromwell, Conn.) scoring the lone points for either side.
- Kelsey scored 11 points and registered seven rebounds and four assists for the Beacons, while badgering Curley all game long. Off the bench, Jalani Jackson (Brockton, Mass.) led UMass Boston with a career-high five assists.
- With the win, UMass Boston tied the 2015-16 team for the second-most wins in program history (16). Head coach Kristina Baugh has won at least 16 games in two of her first three seasons.
UMass Boston will travel to Rhode Island College on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in their final game in January. The Beacons are 6-1 thus far this month.