BOSTON, Mass.—Behind a monster double-double from Joie Grassi (Plymouth, Mass.) and clutch free throw shooting, UMass Boston women's basketball earned an 84-79 win over #25 Emmanuel College in their home opener on Saturday.
UMass Boston 84, Emmanuel College 79
(UMass Boston 4-0)
(Emmanuel College 3-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Grassi was the difference in a back-and-forth game between Boston rivals. The junior recorded new career-highs with 32 points and 18 rebounds. She went 9-19 from the field, 4-8 from distance and hit 10 of her 12 free throws. She also chipped in six offensive rebounds and two steals in 38 minutes of action.
Jalani Jackson (Brockton, Mass.) tacked on 21 points, six rebounds, a game-high five assists and two steals. She was also one of the Beacons' primary press breakers, against Emmanuel's full-court press.
Tahjai Mazyck (Hamden, Conn.) was the final Beacon in double-digits. The junior chipped in with 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Emmanuel's Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda, a Preseason All-American, was held to 19 points on 6-16 shooting. She grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds and added one assist before fouling out late.
Kayla Weaver (21 points) and Jamad Finn (13 points) were the other two Saints in double figures.
Saturday's contest was a back-and-forth rollercoaster, with neither side leading by more than six points.
The Saints built an early 6-0 run in the first 2:03, only to see the Beacons respond back with seven-straight points of their own.
It was back-and-forth until midway through the second quarter. Emmanuel stretched their lead back to six on two occasions, but the Beacons responded with a 7-2 flurry and a 6-0 run to go into halftime trailing 40-37.
Emmanuel pushed their lead to 43-37 early in the third quarter, but Grassi drained a three and Jackson picked up a steal and a layup to get the Beacons back within one.
The visitors kept pushing the lead back to six, only to see the Beacons get back into the game on the backs of Grassi and Jackson. The duo combined for 17 of the Beacons 19 points in the third quarter and they hit all six of the team's free throw attempts.
UMass Boston took their first lead in over 20 minutes of game action with 8:07 left in the fourth quarter, when Grassi drained a 3-pointer (61-60).
The two teams would trade the lead back-and-forth, with Grassi scoring nine points in a row. Jackson drained a three to give the Beacons a 69-66 edge with 5:07 to play, only for the Saints to go on a 9-5 run to take a 75-74 lead with 2:44 left on a Weaver 3-pointer.
Tutkus responded with a lay-in to give the Beacons a lead, only for the Saints to score four in a row to go up 79-76.
Mazyck tied the game with a clutch corner three and Grassi gave the Beacons the lead back with a free throw with a minute left (80-79).
After a Saints turnover, Jackson made a running floater and the Beacons forced a missed shot on the other end. Mazyck grabbed the defensive board and hit both free throws to seal the win.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston shot 35.1 percent (27-77) from the field and 7-21 (33.3 percent) from distance. The Beacons were extremely strong at the charity stripe, shooting 79.3 percent (23-29), compared to the Saints (61.3 percent).
- Grassi's previous career highs were 29 points and 15 rebounds. She recorded 29 points as a freshman against MIT and 15 rebounds on multiple occasions.
- With the win, UMass Boston earned their second-straight win over the Saints. The Beacons now trail the all-time series 11-2.
- The Beacons earned a 52-38 edge in rebounds and a 21-17 lead in second-chance points.
- Prior to the game, UMass Boston honored Hall of Famer Stephanie Bogues ('89) for being inducted into the Little East Conference Hall of Fame this summer.
- Freshman Keriann Farina (Arlington, Mass.) made a big impact off the bench. She recorded a career-high four points and tacked on three rebounds in nine minutes.
- Saturday's win marks the Beacons' first-ever win over a nationally ranked program.
- Grassi's 32 points ties Jackson for the most by a Beacon this season. Both players finished one point away from tying the program record for points in a single-game.
- The Beacons have now won 20 of their past 21 home opener.s
UMass Boston will have a week off, before traveling to take on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy next Sunday at 1 p.m.