BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston women's basketball battled from a 10-point, second-half deficit to take the lead, but fell just short in an instant defensive classic with rival UMass Dartmouth.
UMass Dartmouth 60, UMass Boston 59
(UMass Boston 17-7, Little East 10-5)
(UMass Dartmouth 20-4, Little East 13-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
In a rematch of the 2018 Little East Conference Championship Game, UMass Dartmouth senior Nakira Examond scored her first and only basket of the second half with 12 seconds left to give the Corsairs a 60-59 edge. On the other end, Jalani Jackson's (Brockton, Mass.) running layup fell off the mark and the Corairs were able to avoid turning the ball over in the final three seconds.
Jackson overcame a poor shooting night to pace the Beacons with 17 points on 13-14 shooting from the charity stripe. The sophomore tacked on four rebounds and two assists.
Joie Grassi (Plymouth, Mass.) had her offensive woes, but she still managed to compile a line of 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
Tahjai Mazyck (Hamden, Conn.), the Beacons usual third leading scorer, tacked on 10 points in the loss on 4-12 shooting.
Quinones was everywhere on the floor, especially on the defensive end. She finished the game with eight points and a game-high eight rebounds and added two steals. Williams was the Beacons defensive anchor, as she recorded three points, four rebounds and five blocks-including four in the fourth quarter.
Examond was the difference maker for UMass Dartmouth. The senior recorded a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds on an efficient 8-12 shooting from the field 6-8 from the free throw line. She became the first player in program history to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, when she ripped down an offensive rebound with 8:45 to play in the first half.
Ashley Brown picked up the scoring load with Examond on the bench for much of the third quarter. She chipped in eight of her 16 points in the third and tacked on seven rebounds and three assists.
Off the bench, freshman Shaelyn Carreiro recorded nine key points.
The visitors took control of the game midway through the first quarter and extended their lead to as many as 14 points late in the second quarter. UMass Boston scored the final three points of the half to go into the break trailing 34-23.
UMass Boston looked like they were set to wrestle control of the momentum early in the third quarter, when they opened the half on a 4-0 run and Examond was forced to the bench with her third foul at 8:38.
Despite shooting 50 percent for the quarter and putting up 23 points, UMass Boston was only able to cut the deficit to eight in the third quarter. Brown and Carreiro combined for 15 of the Corsairs 20 points in the quarter to keep the hosts at bay.
The Beacons cut the deficit to five (46-41) with 3:07 to play in the third, after Grassi and Mazyck put together a 7-0 run. Brown immediately responded with an old-fashioned 3-point play and UMass Boston wouldn't get closer than six points the rest of the quarter.
UMass Boston turned up the pressure to begin the fourth quarter, as they held UMass Dartmouth without a point for the opening 3:43. The Beacons used that time to go on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 54-52. Jackson and Grassi each hit a pair of free throws and Quinones added a lay-in.
The Corsairs responded with back-to-back baskets to push their lead to 58-52 with 5:21 left.
After a long scoring drought for both teams, Mazyck hit a deep two from straight away to cut the deficit to six and Grassi hit a layup to make it 58-56 with 1:43 left.
Williams got the Beacons back within one on a free threw and Jackson gave UMass Boston their first lead since the opening minutes with a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, Examond was able to get around a pair of Beacons defenders to hit a layup for her first basket of the half.
The Beacons put the ball back into the hands of Jackson on their next possession, but her runner was off the mark and UMass Dartmouth was able to dribble out of the clock.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston posted their second-lowest field goal percentage of the season (29.3 percent) in the loss. The Beacons also did not hit a 3-pointer for just the second time this season (0-4). They made up for their shooting woes by hitting a season-high 25 free throws on 33 attempts (75.8 percent).
- The Beacons earned a 42-40 edge on the second-best rebounding team in the conference and forced 21 Corsair turnovers.
- UMass Boston hosted their "Think Pink" Game on Wednesday. The Beacons sold pink t-shirts and raffled off pink gear, with all of the proceeds going to the Play4Kay Foundations.
- With the loss, UMass Boston saw their two-game winning streak against the Corsairs snapped. UMass Dartmouth leads the all-time series 53-28.
- UMass Boston held UMass Dartmouth to six points in the fourth quarter (13-6).
- Mya Thompson (Billerica, Mass.) recorded five points and five minutes in 12 minutes for the Beacons.
- Williams' five blocks marked a new career-high. Ten of her 64 career blocks have come against the Corsairs.
- UMass Boston is ranked 12th in this week's NCAA Division III Northeast Rankings. The Corsairs sit seventh in the rankings, with fellow LEC side Eastern Connecticut State in 11th-place.
UMass Boston will travel to Rhode Island College on Saturday at 1 p.m. for their regular-season finale. The Beacons can clinch the third-seed in the upcoming LEC Tournament with a win or a University of Southern Maine loss at Western Connecticut State University. Either way, the Beacons will be hosting an LEC Quarterfinal Game on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.