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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Women’s basketball’s draining from downtown in recent hot streak

Sophomore+Kayla+Jackson+shooting+the+ball.+Photo+by+Dong+Woo+Im+%2F+Mass+Media+Staff.
Dong Woo Im
Sophomore Kayla Jackson shooting the ball. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

The long and winding road has started to straighten out. UMass Boston Women’s Basketball planted themselves on the wrong foot and got stuck in muddy waters during the beginning stages of their 2023 season. Starting their year off 0–3, it seemed like the Beacons were trekking into some familiar territory and bridging a gap between their nightmarish end to 2022 with their newfound troubles in 2023. Last year, the final seed for the Little East Conference tournament was up for grabs for UMass Boston, but some miscues on both ends of the floor had a once promising 2022 squad turn sour. The team finished 2022 on a four-game losing streak, which ultimately cost them a shot at making a run in the LEC playoffs. 

The past few weeks saw the Beacons’ trend of losses tie over from last year, raising questions not about the possibility of when they’ll rally back and string together some wins, but rather if they’ll be able to do so. This especially became the case after the team dropped their third game of the year in a 67–40 blowout against Worcester Polytechnic Institute Nov. 16. The Beacons, however, fought back, and they did so with authority.

 Two days after getting chewed up by the Goats, the Beacons flew away from Fitchburg State, soaring over the Falcons in every statistic presented. According to Beacons Athletics, the team held a 41–21 lead at halftime, and when all was said and done, the Beacons ended up scoring more first half points than the Falcons did all game. The final score being 74–39, UMass Boston picked apart Fitchburg’s offense, forcing them into committing 31 turnovers, 17 of which came from steals. Sophie Bradbury headlined the Beacons’ offensive showcase, scoring 16 points on 50 percent shooting; 12 of those points came from four shots buried from downtown. UMass Boston’s bench was also one of the key differences in how this game played out, as they alone managed to outscore the Falcons 48–39. [1]

Offensive efficiency was also a crucial factor to the outcome of the game. Alongside Bradbury, Keriann Farina also shot 50 percent from the field and 1–3 from three point land, her point total being 13. However, the Beacons’ most effective scorers managed to put up an even more absurd shot percentage. Alexah Potter was 5–8 on her shots—she also led the team with four assists. [1]

Kayla Jackson was somehow even more efficient shooting, hitting five of her seven shots for 10 points. With four Beacons reaching double-digit point totals, their cumulative shooting percentage equated to 56.7 percent, which in standards of basketball, is top notch to say the least. [1] With not only their first win but what may become their biggest win of the season in the books and on the backburner, the Beacons finally had some momentum to propel forward with, and against Lasell, they utilized their wave of confidence to their full potential. 

Beacons Athletics reported that the Beacons hosted a laser show for the visiting Lasers, and fired lasers from all around to come out on top, 59–54. However, how they got to that point once again brought upon a cause for concern. After one frame of action, the Beacons once again took matters into their own hands and poured it onto the Lasers for 21 points. Lasell kept fighting, though, and with the help of a 10–2 run, was able to cut the lead down to just three entering halftime. 

The third quarter saw the Beacons regain control for a 46–32 lead heading into the fourth, but Lasell’s Erica Lendall was able to carve up the Beacons’ defense in the closing stages, firing three lasers of her own from three point range. Her spurt of offense brought the Lasers’ deficit to five within 90 seconds of gameplay, but the Beacons didn’t let up, and kept the lead throughout the remainder of the game for the five-point victory. Farina was the leading scorer for the Beacons, lighting up Clark Athletic Center with 17 points on six shots, once again shooting 50 percent from the field. 

Potter was another difference maker, potting ten points of her own, and the Beacons’ defense was the x-factor for the second straight game. Even with an abundance of miscues on offense for UMass Boston—who let up 21 turnovers—the defense played its part, one-upping Lasell’s impressive stat line by forcing 22 turnovers of their own. Those turnovers turned into 24 crucial points for the Beacons, who outscored Fitchburg and Lasell 55–14 on points off turnovers. 

Women’s basketball seems to have settled in and set their feet for what’s in store for them. Their defense has been elite as of late, but their opponents still give them a run for their money on the court with their quick offensive turnarounds. The teams’ blowout over the Falcons certainly provided a much needed turn of events for their season’s course, and is undoubtedly a performance that should be sought after as the year plays out. The Beacons’ key to success has been their efforts to force turnovers on the defensive end, and with their most effective scorers on offense clicking right now, their recent hot streak is something to keep an eye on. If all goes to plan, the program will be making strides, given their win streak has presented the Beacons’ strongest tangibles, but it’s a matter of execution from here on out that will help them maintain their composure at a high level. 

As noted by Beacons Athletics, women’s basketball goes face to face with Western Connecticut State this Wednesday at home. [3] Only time will tell if their 5 p.m. matchup with them will bear witness to them sending the pack of Wolves and their families home with another statement victory. If you have time, go to the game, because from the looks of it, the Beacons are trending toward lighting up the LEC like old times. 

 

SOURCES:

[1] Women’s Basketball vs Fitchburg State University on 11/18/2023 – Box Score – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

[2] Later Lasers! – Women’s Basketball Hold Off Late Comeback From Lasell – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

[3] 2023-24 Women’s Basketball Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

 

About the Contributors
Nick Collins, Sports Editor
Dong Woo Im, Photographer