BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston women's basketball used a 12-0 run in the first quarter to jump out to a double-digit lead and never let Johnson & Wales University (R.I.) get closer than eight points the rest of the way in a 71-59 non-conference win.
UMass Boston 71, Johnson & Wales U. 59
(UMass Boston 8-1)
(Johnson & Wales 1-9)
HOW IT HAPPENED
UMass Boston raced out to a hot-start and received contributions up and down the lineup as they earned a win in their last game before Finals Break.
Sophomore Jalani Jackson (Brockton, Mass.) paced the team by finishing with a game-high 20 points. She finished 4-5 from distance and added a team-high six made free throws (6-8), to go along with a team-best four assists.
Junior transfer Jamie Staples (Amherst, Mass.) tacked on a season-high 12 points on 4-7 shooting.
Geanna Williams (Cromwell, Conn.) and Tahjai Mazyck (Hamden, Conn.) each added nine points, while freshman Yodelis Paulino (Lowell, Mass.) added a career-high and team-high eight rebounds off the bench.
Johnson & Wales senior Ally Mishol finished with a team-high 20 points on 8-20 shooting and 2-5 from distance. Marissa Cottrell added a career-high 11 points and six rebounds off the bench, while Tiondra Hands chipped in 10 points and two assists.
UMass Boston took control of the game for good in the opening six minutes. After the two teams traded threes in the first two minutes, UMass Boston leapt out to a double-digit thanks to a 12-0 run.
Jackson opened the run with her second three of the game already to give the Beacons the lead for good. Mazyck followed with a steal and a layup and then tacked on two free throws to push the lead to 13-6. Williams added a layup on the next possession and then Staples drained a three-pointer to give the Beacons an 18-6 lead with 4:20 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats answered with a three of their own to cut the deficit back to nine, but a mini 5-0 run gave UMass Boston a double-digit lead for the next two+ quarters.
UMass Boston stretched their lead out to a first-half-high 17 points midway through the second quarter. Sophomore Kailee Gautier (Newark, Del.) knocked down back-to-back jump shots to stretch the lead to 34-17 with 4:10 to play in the half.
Johnson & Wales cut the deficit down to 14 with under 30 seconds in the half, but Jackson tipped a loose ball to Paulino and Paulino beat the buzzer to give UMass Boston a 42-26 lead after 20 minutes.
The Beacons pushed their advantage to 18 points (51-33) late in the third quarter, but Johnson & Wales used a 9-3 flurry to end the stanza to get back within 12 (54-42).
Johnson & Wales kept their momentum going into the fourth quarter and cut the Beacons lead to single digits with 4:18 to play. After trailing by 15 earlier in the quarter, Hands and Tara Murphy combined for a 7-2 run to make it a 61-53 game with 4:18 left.
UMass Boston put the game out of reach by answering with a 7-0 run. Staples made a jump shot on the next possession and then Jackson and Williams combined to hit five of six free throws over the next three possessions
BY THE NUMBERS
- Thursday's game marked the first-ever meeting between UMass Boston and Johnson & Wales. Beacons head coach Kristina Baugh was an assistant coach during the 2010-11 season at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), when JWU head coach Kim Dweck was a sophomore at NJIT.
- UMass Boston heads into Finals Breaks with just one loss for the second-straight season. The Beacons hadn't accomplished that feat since the 2002-03 season, prior to the last two years.
- Gautier finished with a career-high six points (3-4) in eight minutes off the bench.
- UMass Boston finished the game shooting 44.4 percent (8-18) from distance. Johnson & Wales came into Thursday's game second in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference in 3-point field goal percentage. The Wildcats allow opponents to shoot just 25.3 percent from distance.
- The Beacons earned huge advantages in bench points (30-13) and second-chance points (16-2).
- With the win, UMass Boston improved to 15-1 over the past three semesters at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium.
UMass Boston will be off until Sunday December 30, when they travel to take on host WPI at 5 p.m. in the WPI Holiday Tournament. The #8 University of Scranton and Roger Williams University, a pair of NCAA Tournament teams last year, will play in game two on December 30.