UMass rolls Rhody, 68-57

AMHERST, Mass. – With 23 assists on 24 field goals and four players in double figures, the UMass women’s basketball team rolled to a 68-57 victory over Rhode Island on Senior Day at the Mullins Center on Wednesday evening. The Minutewomen led for all but 48 seconds of the contest to move to 8-20 on the season (3-10 A-10), surpassing the team’s 2010-11 overall win total. The Rams drop to 1-27 on the year and 0-13 in conference play.

For the first time since Dec. 28 vs. Elon, four UMass players scored in double figures, with two more finishing just shy. Junior Jasmine Watson (South Bend, Ind./South Bend Washington) led the way with 15 points, aided by 7-for-10 shooting, while senior Megan Zullo (Greenville, N.C./Farmville/N.C. State) added 13, junior Shakia Robinson (North Wales, Pa./North Penn) had 11 and freshman Emily Mital (Frisco, Texas/Frisco Liberty) chipped in with a career-high 11 points, including a 6-for-6 performance at the free throw line. Redshirt freshman Millie Niggeling (Sioux City Iowa/Bishop Heelan) was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc to match her career high of nine points and senior Emilie Teuscher (Miamisburg, Ohio/Miamisburg) had eight points. Five Minutewomen totaled three or more assists, paced by Zullo’s six and Niggeling’s four. The squad shared the responsibility of cleaning up the glass as Watson, Teuscher, and Zullo all had a team-high four rebounds apiece, while Robinson and Mital each had three boards.

After Rhode Island hit the opening shot of the game, UMass answered with a three from Zullo and led for the remainder of the contest. The Minutewomen used five treys to help expand their advantage to 14 at 21-7 with 12:55 to play in the first half. UMass had just one field goal in the remainder of the period, however, as the Rams managed to close the gap to three at the intermission with a 16-5 run over the final 9:59 to bring the score to 26-23.

Beginning the second half with a 9-0 run, the Minutewomen stretched their lead back out to double figures at 35-23. URI pulled within four with a jumper by Ashley Rivera at the 8:39 mark, but could draw no closer than five in the remainder of the contest. Zullo helped ice the game for the Minutewomen with her third three of the night to put UMass back in front by 10, 62-52, with 3:30 remaining.
The Minutewomen shot a season-best 54.5% (24-for-44) from the field and tied a season high with nine threes on 17 attempts (52.9%). At the free throw line, the squad converted 11-of-16 (68.8%). Rhode Island finished the night 21-for-52 (40.4%) overall, 3-for-5 (60%) from three and 12-for-15 (80%) at the charity stripe.

Emilie Cloutier had a game-high 18 points for the Rams, while Rivera added 13 off the bench. Chari Lehnertz grabbed a game-best eight rebounds.

UMass will conclude the regular season at Xavier this Sunday, Feb. 26, in a nationally-televised contest on CBS Sports at 2 p.m.

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