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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Framingham State Bests UMass Boston in 2002 Tip-off Classic

Forward Andreen Gilpin, Little East Conference Co-Player of the Week for the week of November 18-24 and 2002 Tip-off Classic All-Tournament team member.
Ennio Bozzeti
Forward Andreen Gilpin, Little East Conference Co-Player of the Week for the week of November 18-24 and 2002 Tip-off Classic All-Tournament team member.

After the UMass Boston women’s basketball team handily defeated Lesley University, 85-26, in the opening round of the third annual Tip-off Classic, a third consecutive tournament championship seemed well in reach for the Beacons.

The Rams of Framingham State College (FSC), however, had other plans. Center Janice Coppolino of FSC in recorded 14 points and snatched 12 rebounds to lead the Rams to an 80-74 victory over UMass Boston. FSC became the first Tip-off Classic invitee to win the tournament, and Coppolino became the first non-Beacon to win the tournament MVP.

The relative ease of the Lesley game did not make the Beacons complacent in their play, as the team opened up a quick 7-0 lead over the Rams. UMB was receiving contributions from the entire team early on, whether it was Felicia Haynes taking offensive charges or Kristen Bowes picking the pockets of Ram guards. Senior forward and 2001 Tip-off Classic MVP Andreen Gilpin (17 points and 25 rebounds) established her offensive presence early, with deft offensive post moves and an indefatigable effort on the boards.

Framingham State came out of an early timeout with demonstrable exhibition of grit and resilience in their play as the Beacon lead slowly disintegrated. Ram guard Hilary Glynn was the first to heat up for the visitors, converting back-to-back jumpers to give FSU its first lead of the game at 17-15.

The improved play of FSU continued well after a Beacon timeout. The increased efficiency of the FSC defense led to a mounting number of Beacon turnovers. On the offensive side of the ball for the Rams, it was Coppolino that took charge with several baskets from the low post. Rams players drained nearly every open shot as the lead grew to first half high lead of nine points at 33-24.

A modest 6-0 run led by Gilpin and Haynes stymied any thoughts of a Ram runaway. The FSC lead fluctuated between three and seven points for much of the rest of the first half. Nonetheless, in the final minute of the half, Beacon junior Alma Medina showed clever footwork as she pivoted her way to consecutive baskets in the paint, slicing the Ram lead to a single point, 45-44. The first half did not come without its price for the Beacons, though. The team lost the services of sophomore guard Elizabeth Loewen due to an injury.

The Beacons started out of sync offensively for the second half. The Rams capitalized on the stagnant Beacon play, running off 14 unanswered points to open the half guard as Ram guard Katelyn Kennedy of FSC capped off the run when she drained a three-pointer from the right corner. Bowes ended the Ram run with a bank shot from about ten feet out.

The Beacons slowly awoke from their offensive coma. UMB cut the FSC lead to seven points, highlighted by Elmina Derville’s three pointer. Framingham State responded with increased physicality on the defensive end. As if the obstacle of a near double digit deficit was not enough, the Beacon suffered its second injury of the game when Haynes went out and did not return, leaving the depleted bench in an even more difficult position.

UMB had to whittle away the Ram lead with a harassing defense and an inside game, as every Beacon was ice-cold from the perimeter. Bowes did not a momentary reprieve from outside shooting blues as she buried a trey from straight away to cut the deficit to 76-72 with a little over two minutes to go. Yet it was too little, too late, as FSC held on for the victory.

Jamila Gales had 19 points to lead the Beacons in scoring and Haynes contributed with 16 points, many of them on the fast break. Bowes led the team in assists and steals, with ten and seven respectively.

Gales and Gilpin were both named to the all-tournament team.

(The Beacons rebounded three days later as the team recorded its first road victory of the young season with a 61-52 victory over Fitchburg State University. This past Sunday, the team beat an overmatched Albertus Magnus team 65-44. The team’s record stands at 3-1 as of December 2, 2002.)