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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Historic Tournament Appearance Ends in Defeat for UMass Boston

The magical season for the University of Massachusetts Boston’s women’s basketball team came to a heartbreaking end on Friday, March 3.
On Feb. 24, UMass Boston defeated UMass Dartmouth to win the Little East Conference Championship, which qualified them for the NCAA Division III Tournament. UMass Boston went on to play Saint Joseph’s College in Amherst during the first round of the tournament. Saint Joseph’s College (28-1) was ranked high in the NCAA, but despite the Beacons’ best efforts, they could not keep their bench mark campaign going.
This was the first ever NCAA Tournament game in UMass Boston women’s basketball history. The team was expecting big performances from their rookie sensations Joie Grassi and Shania Osborne, and the two didn’t disappoint. Osborne scored a game-high 16 points on 8-11 shooting, while Grassi contributed a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
UMass Boston also received some tremendous support from the bench. In addition to Osborne’s bench performance, Whitney Fulton and Jalani Jackson both added three pointers, while Megan Dixon pulled down four rebounds in the loss. Overall, the Beacons received 28 points from the bench. Their relentless offensive attack allowed them to take a 38-25 lead into the half, leaving them in a great position to take the win.
However, the second half was a much different story. Saint Joseph’s offense came heavily. Four out of the five starters finished with double digits in points. Julia Champagne of Saint Joseph’s College tied with Osborne of UMass Boston with 16 points for the game-high.
Saint Joseph’s had two less bench players, meaning that their second unit had to be constantly mixed in with starters. Four out of five starters for St. Joseph’s played over 30 minutes, while UMass Boston only had two play for that length. Ultimately, St. Joseph’s College outscored the Beacons 19-9 in the third quarter, and then pulled ahead to win with 3:32 left in the fourth quarter.
On the surface, these numbers would make one wonder how UMass Boston didn’t win this game. However, the underlying problem was turnovers. UMass Boston turned the ball over 17 times, while St. Joseph’s turned the ball over 10 times. Saint Joseph’s College scored 19 of their 61 points off of UMass Boston in turnovers—a troubling stat considering the final score was the difference of a mere five points.
At the end of the day, this is still a win for UMass Boston as a program. It really didn’t matter if it was a win or a loss, just being there was truly a huge victory. Of course, the team would have loved a win, but now that it is all said and done, this team was the first in school history to make it to the NCAA Tournament, which they deserved. They elevated the program to heights it had never been before, and their efforts will leave a lasting impact on the future teams. While we lose seniors Lydia Vital, Katie Mathieu, and Raven Kelsey, team stars Grassi and Osborne are just getting started. The future is bright for our women’s basketball program, and they very well could become a fixture in the NCAA Tournament.