Crusaders Entertain UMass On Tuesday Evening

Lisa Mifsud

Complete release in PDF format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (3-0, 2-0 Home) vs. Massachusetts (2-3, 1-1 Away)
Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600); Worcester, Mass.
Video Streaming: Crusader Vision; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play | Click here to watch
Unofficial Live Statistics: Presto Sports Primetime | Click here to view
Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 10-9
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 63, Massachusetts 59 (Nov. 25, 2012, Amherst, Mass.)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos., No., Name, Ht., Cl.
F, 31, Raquel Scott, 6-0, So.
F, 50, Emily Parker, 6-2, Jr.
G, 2, Brisje Malone, 5-9, Sr.
G, 12, Lisa Mifsud, 5-7, So.
G, 22, Alex Smith, 5-8, Sr. 

HOLY CROSS TO HOST UMASS ON TUESDAY: The Holy Cross women's basketball team (3-0) will play its fourth contest of the season on Tuesday, Nov. 26, when it will host Massachusetts (2-3) at the Hart Center for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff. The Crusaders are coming off a 75-55 win over Bryant on Saturday, Nov. 23 to advance their record to 3-0, which is the best start since the 2001-2002. After the game versus the Minutewomen, the Crusaders will enjoy a brief Thanksgiving break before heading to Manhattan on Sunday, Dec. 1 for a 2:00 p.m. contest. Holy Cross will then host Northeastern on Dec. 4, followed by Fordham on Dec. 7, with both games at the Hart Center. The Crusaders will then have 11 days off for finals before they host Quinnipiac in their third annual "Get Fit with the Crusaders" game versus Quinnipiac at 11:30 a.m.

THE SERIES WITH THE MINUTEWOMEN: This will be the 20th meeting between Holy Cross and Massachusetts, with the Crusaders holding the slim 10-9 series lead. Holy Cross is currently on a two-game winning streak versus UMass with wins during the last two seasons on Nov. 22, 2011 (76-64; Worcester, Mass.) and Nov. 25, 2012 (63-59; Amherst, Mass.). The series dates back to Nov. 22, 1982, with Holy Cross winning the first matchup 88-75 in Amherst, Mass. The Crusaders won five of the first six games played in the series, but more recently, UMass has claimed four out of the last six games played. The Minutewomen won the only overtime contest between these two teams back on Nov. 26, 2000 with a 62-57 win in Amherst, Mass.

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: Holy Cross leads, 10-9
At Holy Cross: Holy Cross leads, 6-3
At UMass: UMass Leads, 6-4
At the Hart Center: Holy Cross leads 6-3
In Overtime Games: UMass leads, 1-0
Current Win Streak: Holy Cross, two games

HOLY CROSS AGAINST THE ATLANTIC-10 CONFERENCE: In its program history, Holy Cross has played nine of the 13 teams currently in the Atlantic-10 Conference (Dayton, Fordham, George Washington, La Salle, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, St. Joseph's and Saint Louis). This season, the Crusaders are scheduled to play two A-10 teams, UMass and Fordham (Dec. 7). Holy Cross also could play Saint Louis (Dec. 29) in the second game of the Cyclone Classic in Ames, Iowa. Against A-10 schools, Holy Cross holds a 62-32 overall record for a .660 winning percentage. Last season, the Crusaders played both UMass (Nov. 25; W, 63-59) and Fordham (Jan. 6; L, 67-60). Two teams in the A-10, George Washington (2-0) and St. Joseph's (1-0) have winning records over the Crusaders. Holy Cross, however, has winning records over the other seven teams: Dayton (1-0). Fordham (31-9), La Salle (11-8), Massachusetts (10-9), Rhode Island (7-3), Richmond (1-0) and Saint Louis (1-0).

CRUSADERS OFF TO HOT START: For the first time since the 2001-2002 season, Holy Cross is 3-0 to begin the campaign. It is the seventh time in school history where the Crusaders have started the year with a 3-0 overall record. In its game at UMass Lowell on Nov. 16, it was the first time since Nov. 29, 2008, where the Crusaders scored over 90 points in a game, as they defeated Missouri 94-93 in triple overtime. It was also the most points scored in 40 minutes of basketball since Holy Cross topped Colgate, 103-72 on Jan. 16, 2002. Holy Cross is averaging 83.7 points and 23.0 assists per game, while shooting at a 48.2 percent clip from the field. The Crusaders hold large margins versus opponents in scoring (22.7 PPG), rebounding (+9.0 RPG) and assists (+13.7 APG) this season. With a win versus UMass, it would be the first time since the 1987-1988 season that Holy Cross has begun the year at 4-0. Only three times in the 39-year school history has Holy Cross started its season with a 4-0 record (1981-82/6-0; 1982-83/6-0; and 1987-88/5-0).

SMITH TO LEAD CRUSADERS THIS SEASON: Senior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) has been a key contributor to this year's team and currently leads the squad with 15.7 points, 5.7 assists and 3.0 steals per contest. In the win over Bryant, Smith tallied a season-best 19 points and five steals to go along with five boards and four helpers. Versus UMass Lowell, Smith filled the stat sheet with 17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Her points, assists and steals mark were all game-highs. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, Smith registered 11 points (all in the second half), six assists and three rebounds. She also went 3-of-6 from behind the arc versus the Big Green. She is eight three-pointers made away from breaking the Holy Cross career record of 277 set by Bethany O'Dell and is 17 treys away from breaking the Patriot League career record of 286 by Alex Ross of Lehigh. She recently broke the Holy Cross record for career three-point attempts, as she now has 719. As of Nov. 21, She ranks first in the Patriot League in assists per game and assist-turnover ratio. She ranks second in steals per game and eighth in points per contest. In 2012-2013, Smith led the Patriot League with 14.5 points and 2.9 three-pointers made per game. She also ranked second in the league in three-point percentage (.372), third in minutes played per game (35.9), and fifth in assists per contest (3.7). Smith became the 29th player in Holy Cross history and the 11th junior to score 1,000 career points, accomplishing the feat on Jan. 19, 2013. Smith registered double-figure points in 29 contests last year and scored over 20 points in four games. Last year, Smith set a pair of Holy Cross single-season records with 93 three-pointers made and 250 three-pointers attempted. For her career, Smith has 1,255 points (13th in HC history), 420 assists (T8th in HC history), 366 rebounds and 165 steals. In 2012-2013, Smith was named first team and Academic All-Patriot League.

MALONE COMING OFF STRONG CAMPAIGN: Senior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) will join Smith to form a strong backcourt duo this season for Holy Cross. So far this year, Malone is averaging 14.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per contest, In the last game versus Bryant, Malone tallied 12 points, three rebounds and a pair of swipes. At UMass Lowell, Malone registered her third career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds in only 24 minutes played. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, Malone had the second most points for Holy Cross with 16. She also recorded six assists and three rebounds versus the Big Green. As of Nov. 21, she ranks fourth in the league in points per game and ninth in rebounds per contest. She also ranks fifth in assists per game. Coming off her best season in a Crusader uniform, Malone ranked first in the Patriot League with 5.0 assists per contest and was third with 1.8 steals per game and a 1.6-to-1.0 assist/turnover ratio. She also tallied 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game a season ago. Malone was named to the Patriot League All-Tournament team in 2012-2013 after averaging 12.0 points and 6.0 assists in the tournament. In last year's season opener versus Yale, Malone scored a career-best 23 points to go along with four steals and three assists. She scored double-digits in 14 games last year and recorded her second career double-double with 11 points and 10 assists versus Bucknell on Feb. 23, 2013. Malone is just 185 points away from 1,000 in her career.

GANSER TO BOLTER HOLY CROSS FRONTCOURT: Holy Cross senior forward Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) will provide the Crusaders and more specifically the frontcourt with senior leadership and versatility. She averaged 7.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in 2012-2013. Last season, Ganser set career-highs in points (223), assists (35), blocks (6), three-pointers made (19), three-pointers attempted (62) and field-goal percentage (.441). She scored double-digits in seven contests last season and also recorded her second career double-double with a 17 point and 10 rebound effort at Fordham on Jan. 6, 2013.

JUNIORS IN THE POST: Holy Cross junior forwards Emily Parker (Johnston, Iowa) and Clare Sullivan (Belmont, Mass.) will be big contributors in the frontcourt for the Crusaders this season. So far this year, Parker has averages of 12.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. In the last contest versus Bryant, Parker totaled a season-best 14 points to go along with five rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. In the win at UMass Lowell, Parker totaled 13 points and seven rebounds. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, Parker tallied 11 points and a team-best nine rebounds in only 18 minutes of action. She was also tied for the game-high with three blocks. As of Nov. 21, she ranks first in the Patriot League in offensive rebounding, third in field-goal percentage and ninth in total rebounding. In 25 games played last season, Parker averaged 5.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. Injuries hampered the 2012-2013 season for Parker, but the 6-2 forward is back healthy for the 2013-2014 campaign. Sullivan will look for an increase role this season in the frontcourt with the graduation of forward Amy Lepley. Against the Riverhawks, Sullivan tallied seven points and a pair of rebounds. She saw 15 minutes of action versus Dartmouth and recorded a pair of assists and one rebound. In 28 games played a season ago, Sullivan averaged 2.4 points and 1.1 rebounds while making 11 blocks.  

RAQ-ING UP THE REBOUNDS: Crusader sophomore forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) will look to carry over her strong effort in last year's Patriot League Tournament to the 2013-2014 season. She ranks second on the team with 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this season. In the last contest versus Bryant, Scott registered nine points to go along with a team-best six rebounds. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, Scott had her best game as a Crusader. In only 25 minutes of action, she recorded a career-best 22 points (18 in the first half) on 10-of-12 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds and five assists (career-high). For her performance, Scott was named the GoHolyCross.com Crusader of the Week. In last year's tournament, Scott ranked second in the league with 10.7 rebounds per game, including a career-best 14 boards in the Patriot League semifinal versus Colgate. During her rookie campaign, Scott played in all 32 games and made 14 starts. She averaged 4.3 points per game and ranked first on the team and 12th in the Patriot League with 5.3 rebounds per contest (169 total). Scott tallied a 10 point and 12 rebound double-double versus Manhattan a season ago.

HOURIGAN LOOKS TO CONTINUE OUTSTANDING SECOND HALF: Holy Cross sophomore center Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) will look to continue her strong freshman campaign this season. Playing in all three games so far this year, Hourigan averages 7.3 points and 4.7 caroms per contest. She recorded 10 points and five boards in the win at UMass Lowell. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, Hourigan tallied seven points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 19 minutes of action off the bench. She currently ranks second in the Patriot League in shooting percentage. The only center on the roster at 6-4, Hourigan was a key contributor down the stretch last season, starting in 14 of the final 15 contests for Holy Cross. In 29 games played a season ago, Hourigan averaged 3.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.

BACKCOURT DEPTH: Holy Cross' depth in the backcourt will give them the ability to have a variety of lineups depending on its opponents. Senior Kelly Hamner (Manassas, Va.) will provide the Crusaders with a physical on-ball defender as she played in 20 games a season ago and totaled 10 steals. She saw her first action of the season in the win at UMass Lowell, where she had three points and one rebound. Sophomore Lisa Mifsud (Erie, Pa.) has started in all three contests this season and has performed well. So far this year, Mifsud has averages of 10.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds per contest. In the win at UMass Lowell, Mifsud recorded career-highs of 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, she recorded 12 points and four assists. This season, she is eight-for-eight in free throws and ninth in the Patriot League in scoring (13.5) and fourth in assists (5.5).  Mifsud played in 30 games in 2012-2013 and averaged 2.2 points per game. Second-year players Kate Gillespie (Washington, D.C.) and Jenn Walsh (Dallas, Texas) will also add depth coming off the bench this season. Gillespie had her best game as a Crusader in the win over Bryant, with career-highs of eight points and two rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Both Gillespie and Walsh have seen time in all three contests this season. Gillespie played in 14 games and made two starts last season, while Walsh saw action in a pair of contests.

CRUSADERS ADD PAIR OF FRESHMEN: Holy Cross will add two freshmen to the 2013-2014 team. Jenn Dynis (St. Louis, Mo.) and Madelyn Ganser (Needham, Mass.) will play a variety of roles on this year's squad, as both are listed as a guard/forward. So far this year, Dynis has averaged 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. She made her first collegiate start at UMass Lowell and recorded a career-best 11 points and five rebounds in the winning effort. In the season opener versus Dartmouth, she tallied five points, three rebounds and a pair of assists. Dynis ranks fourth in the Patriot League in shooting percentage. Ganser has also played in all three contests this season and averages 1.7 rebounds per game. Versus Bryant, she grabbed a career-best three rebounds. At UMass Lowell, she dished out a career-best two assists, while she hauled in a rebound in the season opener versus Dartmouth. Dynis comes from Visitation Academy and was a two-time conference champion and player of the year. Ganser, sister of senior forward Christine, comes to Holy Cross from Needham High School. At Needham, she was a three-time conference all star and helped guide her team to the state tournament in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Both players are listed at 5-11 and will play either the three or four position on the floor. 

SMITH AND GANSER NAMED 2013-2014 CAPTAINS: This season, the Crusaders will have two senior captains. Forward Christine Ganser and guard Alex Smith will lead the Crusaders as they embark on the 2013-2014 campaign. Smith was co-captain with graduate Amy Lepley during the 2012-2013 season.

RAQUET NAMED ASSISTANT COACH: In August, the Crusaders announced the hiring of assistant coach Matt Raquet. Raquet comes to Holy Cross after three years at Temple University where he served as administrative coordinator and graduate assistant coach for the women's basketball program. His primary responsibilities at Holy Cross include video operations, player development, scouting and recruiting. Raquet received his bachelor's degree from Pittsburgh in 2009 and was a four-year member and senior team captain of the men's track and field team.

CRUSADERS PICKED FOURTH IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was picked to finish fourth in the 2013-2014 Patriot League preseason poll, receiving 112 points. Navy was tabbed to finish first in the poll after receiving 157 points and 14 first-place votes. Army was picked second in the poll with 133 points and three first-place votes, while new conference member Boston University finished in third place with 128 points and three first-place votes. After the Crusaders at fourth, Lehigh was picked fifth with 97 points and American was tabbed sixth with 87 points. Bucknell (seventh, 62 points), new league member Loyola (Md.) (eighth, 54 points), Lafayette (ninth, 37 points) and Colgate (10th, 33 points) round out the 10 teams in the Patriot League. Navy senior forward Jade Geif was named Preseason Player of the Year. Kelsey Minato of Army, Rashidat Agboola of BU, Kerry Kinek of Lehigh, Alex Smith of Holy Cross and Geif were all named to the Preseason All-League team.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS 2.0: The Crusaders motto of "unfinished business" will carry over to this season, as the team was bested for the second straight year in the Patriot League championship game by Navy. After earning the fourth seed in the Patriot League Tournament in 2012-2013, Holy Cross defeated Lehigh and Colgate, both at home, to earn a trip to the championship contest. The Mids, however, claimed the 72-53 victory to earn their third consecutive Patriot League title. Holy Cross will look to improve on its No.4 seed from last season to put itself in position to host multiple tournament games and earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.

SMITH NAMED A SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATE:  Alex Smith has been named one of the 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award for Division I women's basketball. The Senior CLASS Award recognizes NCAA student-athletes who have notable achievements in four area of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. The 30 candidates will be narrowed down to 10 finalists midway through the regular season and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Women's Final Four. Go to 'http://www.seniorclassaward.com/athletes/alex_smith/' to read Smith's nomination information.

HELP ME HELP YOU: In 2012-2013, Holy Cross ranked first in the Patriot League and 34th in the nation with 15.5 assists per contest and that largely had to do with senior guards Brisje Malone and Alex Smith. This season, the duo along with sophomore Lisa Mifsud, have helped the Crusaders again rank first in the Patriot League in helpers with 23.0 per game. As of Nov. 21, Smith, Mifsud and Malone rank first, fourth and fifth in the Patriot League, respectively, in assists. The Crusaders tallied 25 assists on 35 shots at UMass Lowell and recorded 28 helpers on 32 buckets in the season opener versus Dartmouth. Last season, Malone ranked first in the conference and 43rd in the country with 5.0 assists per game. Smith also contributed with 3.8 assists per contest last season, which put her fifth in the Patriot League. The pair combined for 267 of Holy Cross' 495 assists in 2012-2013 and will look to improve on those numbers this year.

HOLY CROSS' HIGH OCTANE OFFENSE: The Holy Cross offense has been a big part of its success over the past few seasons and last years' team was no different. The Crusaders ranked first in the Patriot League in points per game (59.9), field goal percentage (.414) and second in the conference in three-pointers per game (5.7) and three-point field goal percentage (.332). This season, the Crusaders picked up right where they left off and currently lead the Patriot League in points per game and shooting percentage. Holy Cross scored its most points in regulation (92) against UMass Lowell since the 2001-2002 season. The team also tallied 84 points in the season opener versus Dartmouth. The 2011-2012 team also ranked first in the conference in points per contest (63.1) and field goal percentage (.413).

HOLY CROSS IN THE NCAA STATISTICS: Last season, the Crusaders ranked in the top 100 in the NCAA Division I leaders in six statistical categories. In addition, Alex Smith and Brisje Malone are in the top 100 in the nation in four individual statistics as well. The rankings for the 2012-2013 season:

Category                                        Rank       Player / Team         Avg. / Pct.
Three-Pointers Made   17   Alex Smith 2.91
  92   Holy Cross 5.70
Assists Per Game 34   Holy Cross 15.5
  43   Brisje Malone 5.00
Three-Point Percentage 44   Alex Smith 37.2
  56   Holy Cross 33.2
Fewest Personal Fouls 58   Holy Cross 14.6
Field Goal Percentage 74   Holy Cross 41.4
Assist-Turnover Ratio 78   Brisje Malone 1.58
  94   Holy Cross 0.86

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOME SWEET HOME: Holy Cross boasts a very strong record when playing at the Hart Center. In now their 40th season, the Crusaders have an all-time record winning percentage of .742 when playing their games at home (354-123). Since Holy Cross went to Division I during the 1982-83 season, they hold an even better .763 winning percentage with a record of 315-98 at the Hart Center.

BRYANT RECAP: Holy Cross senior guard Alex Smith scored a game- and season-best 19 points to go along with five rebounds, five steals and four assists to help lead the Crusaders to a 75-55 triumph over Bryant in non-conference women's basketball action on Saturday evening at the Hart Center. With the win, Holy Cross moves to 3-0 on the season, while the Bulldogs fall to 1-4 overall The 3-0 start for the Crusaders is their best record to begin the season since the 2001-2002 team also began the year at 3-0. It is also the seventh time in Holy Cross history where a team has started the campaign with a 3-0 mark. Both teams traded baskets to begin the contest, as the score was tied at 4-4 with 18:13 on the clock. Holy Cross then jumped ahead 9-5, before the Bulldogs closed the gap and knotted the score at 9-9 at the 15:22 mark of the first half. With the score tied at 11-11 less than two minutes later, Bryant scored four straight points to go up 15-11 (13:07). Holy Cross then countered with a 10-1 rally over the next 5:44 to gain the 21-16 advantage (8:51), as Smith tallied five points during the run. Bryant cut the deficit to one point (21-20) with back-to-back baskets, but Holy Cross ended the final seven minutes of the first half on a 15-4 run to go into the locker room on top 36-24. Bryant came out strong in the second half, as the Bulldogs cut the deficit to eight points (40-32) with 14:37 on the clock. The Crusaders, however, erupted on a 14-0 surge to gain the 54-32 advantage midway through the second half. During the 4:39 rally, senior guard Brisje Malone tallied seven points, while the team forced six combined turnovers. Bryant could not get anything going offensively, as it did not get any closer than 19 points over the final 10 minutes of action. The Crusaders would go on to claim the 75-55 victory. In addition to Smith for the Crusaders, junior forward Emily Parker  tallied a season-best 14 points, five rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Malone scored 12 points and three assists, while sophomore forward Raquel Scott recorded nine points and a team-best six rebounds. Naana Ankoma-Mensa (15 points), Meredith Soper (12 points) and Jenniqua Bailey (10 points) all registered double-digit points for Bryant. Holy Cross connected on 44.6 percent of its shots from the field (25-of-56) and limited the Bulldogs to 32.1 percent shooting (17-of-53). The Crusaders drained five of its 17 shots from behind the arc (29.4 percent), while Bryant only hit one of its 11 tries from downtown (9.1 percent). Both teams shot well from the free-throw line as Bryant hit 87.0 percent (20-of-23) and Holy Cross canned 74.1 percent of its shots (20-of-27). The Crusaders held advantages in assists (16-7), steals (13-4), points off turnovers (22-12) and second chance points (17-8). Bryant held the 40-33 edge in rebounding.

CRUSADER VISION & THE PATRIOT LEAGUE NETWORK: Live video streaming of all Holy Cross home non-conference games and most Patriot League regular season games during the 2013-2014 season will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision and the Patriot League Network. The package, done in association with Campus Insiders, is available free of charge. For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision or the Patriot League Network, visit 'www.GoHolyCross.com' or "www.PatriotLeague.org".

ON THE RADIO: Seven of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2013-2014 season will be carried by Emmanuel Radio, WNEB 1230 AM in Worcester.  Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre is in his 27th season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their 10th year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. All games aired on Emmanuel Radio can also be heard live over the internet at 'www.1230radio.com'.  WCHC 88.1 FM, the Holy Cross student station, will also carry a number of games this year.

ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross will have at least two games shown on live television during the 2013-2014 season. The Crusaders had five appearances last season, while appearing seven times in 2011-2012. Holy Cross was on television five times in 2010-11 and six times in 2009-10. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2013-2014 season:

Jan. 2 vs. Boston University: Charter TV3
Feb. 26 vs. Loyola (Md.): Charter TV3 

ON THE INTERNET: Information on Crusader basketball and all 26 other varsity sports is available through the Holy Cross Athletics home page at "www.GoHolyCross.com". In addition, links to Holy Cross basketball audio broadcasts and live video streaming can be found on the home page. Updates on Holy Cross Athletics can also be found at "www.facebook.com/HolyCrossAthletics" and "www.twitter.com/GoHolyCross".

ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Updates on Holy Cross basketball can be found through the Holy Cross Athletics pages on the following social media networks:

Facebook: Holy Cross Athletics
Twitter: @GoHolyCross
YouTube: GoHolyCross
Instagram: GoHolyCross

E-MAIL ALERTS: Get all the latest news and results on the Holy Cross women's basketball team sent directly to your e-mail. To sign up for e-mail alerts, click here.

SCOUTING THE MINUTEWOMEN: Massachusetts comes into this contest with a 2-3 overall record and is currently on a two-game winning streak after defeating Rutgers (64-63) and most recently Hartford (63-59). Prior to that, the Minutewomen dropped three games in a row to Western Michigan (58-66), Central Michigan (61-105) and to Patriot League school American (59-82). UMass was tabbed 12th out of 13 teams in the Atlantic-10 preseason poll. UMass is led by junior Emily Mital, who averages 10.4 points per game, and sophomore Rashida Timbilla, who averages 8.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest. Massachusetts head coach Sharon Dawley is in her fourth season at the helm of the Minutewomen and has an overall record of 20-73 at UMass. In her 20-year coaching career at Vermont and UMass, Dawley holds a total record of 285-221. She guided Vermont to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and one WNIT showing.