DURHAM, N.H. – UNH women’s basketball fell to UMass by a final score of 74-55 Thursday afternoon. The Wildcats now sit at 1-4 on the season and remain 1-1 in conference play. It was a long day in Lundholm Gym against a dangerous UMass team that now sits at 4-1 on the season.
Head coach Kelsey Hogan has continued to emphasize that the team needs to improve their starts. The Wildcats were once again slow out of the gate and were held without a basket for the first four minutes of play.
UNH’s defense kept them in the game early despite their offensive struggles, holding UMass to only eight points in the first half of quarter No. 1. Two three-pointers from senior guard Amanda Torres and first-year Adara Groman left the ‘Cats down 8-6 with five minutes to play in the first.
After the Minutewomen pushed their lead to four, Groman hit her second three of the night to pull UNH within one point at 10-9. This was the closest the Wildcats would get all night. While UNH continued to fight and hit another three-pointer this time from first-year center Paige Cote, UMass scored another 11 points in the first quarter; the last five of which came in an unanswered run to finish the quarter.
Down 21-12 entering the second quarter, UNH was able to snap UMass’s run with a quick basket from junior Ivy Gogolin. That was as good as it would get for the Wildcats. The Minutewomen pulled away in the second scoring 27 points and pushing their lead to 48-26.
Coach Hogan reflected on the team’s first half and what can improve.
“Our first quarter, even our second quarter. We’ve got to figure it out in practice. It’s our starts that we’ve got to adjust and grow with.”
Hogan’s team adjusted after halftime. After allowing 27 in the second quarter the ‘Cats only allowed 26 in the entire second half. UNH scored nine points in the third quarter and 20 in the fourth while UMass put up 13 in both.
The impressive second half was fueled by the three-ball as the Wildcats were lights out from behind the arc for the entire game. Five UNH players had at least one three made and the team finished the game shooting 50 percent from deep. Groman had a career night netting four out of her five three-point attempts and finished with 16 points. UMass finished the game shooting 26.3 percent from three.
Coach Hogan said she was happy with the team’s shooting and that this is the translation from practice to games she’s been hoping would come.
“That’s an improvement we’ve been working on. It’s confidence and being confident shooter in game. I hope this is a breakout game for us at the three-point line.”
Just as the three-point shooting was a bright spot, rebounding was a blemish on UNH’s stat sheet. UMass finished the game with double UNH’s rebounds with a final tally of 48-24. UMass capitalized on their 16 offensive rebounds turning them into 23 points compared to UNH’s four points on only four offensive boards.
Coach Hogan said the team failed to rebound out of their 2-3 zone defense against an athletic UMass team.
“We didn’t find bodies. We tried to out jump them at times. We struggled with that. I think rebounding out of our zone, we’ve got to work on that.”
The Wildcats face a long break over the holidays until their next games at Hartford on Dec. 27 and 28. Coach Hogan said the team will take charge of the break and go to work every single day. She iterated that practices would remain hard and that time like this will be crucial to help the young team improve.
Photo courtesy of Ben Humphreys