UMass women’s basketball into A-10 semis thanks to tight win over Fordham

Staff Writer 
Published: 3/4/2022 11:54:12 PM
Modified: 3/4/2022 11:53:47 PM

It went all the way down to the final seconds, but No. 3 UMass completed its comeback against No. 6 Fordham in the Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals on Friday night in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Minutewomen eked out a 66-63 win and punched their ticket to the semifinal round. Delaware native Ber’Nyah Mayo sank two free throws in front of her family and friends with seven seconds left on the clock, and Asiah Dingle’s last-second 3-point attempt for Fordham went wide, securing the win for UMass. 

The Minutewomen (24-6) will face No. 7 St. Joseph on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the semifinals, and the game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The Hawks upset No. 2 Rhode Island in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Sam Breen played all 40 minutes for the Minutewomen, leading the way with 18 points and six boards in the win. Right behind her was Sydney ‘Swish’ Taylor, who knocked down three shots from behind the 3-point arc and finished the game with 15 points and six rebounds of her own; the performance was the 22nd time this season that Taylor has scored 10 points or more. Two other UMass players also reached double-digits in scoring – Destiney Philoxy (13) and Ber’Nyah Mayo (12). 

UMass jumped out to an early 6-0 lead off of back-to-back triples from Taylor and Philoxy. They maintained that through the first half of the opening quarter, going into the first media timeout up 8-5. But in the final five minutes, Fordham outscored UMass 10-2 to take a 15-10 lead at the end of the frame. 

UMass and Fordham traded leads back-and-forth before the Rams went on a 9-0 run in the final 4:21 of the half to take a 30-23 lead heading into intermission. 

The Rams extended their lead to as many as 11 points in the third quarter while UMass slowly but surely worked at getting back within range. In the final 2:41 of the third frame, Breen knocked down a jumper and two free throws and Philoxy hit a field goal to make it 50-46 with 10 minutes to play. 

Taylor splashed a triple to open the fourth quarter and make it a one-point game, and Breen scored again to give UMass its first lead since the first quarter. The Minutewomen held onto that advantage with the Rams nipping at their heels; UMass wasn’t able to build more than a four-point lead at any point during the fourth.

Top-seeded Dayton will meet No. 4 VCU in the other semifinal, set for 11 a.m. on Saturday. The title game and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament is set for Sunday at 2 p.m.


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