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UMass Pushes Past @BonniesWBB, 69-60

UMass Pushes Past @BonniesWBB, 69-60

Box Score (PDF)

AMHERST, Mass. – A strong fourth quarter from UMass pushed the Minutewomen past visiting St. Bonaventure, 69-60, on Saturday afternoon at the Mullins Center.

Katie Healy paced the Bonnies with 16 points while Nyla Rueter added 15 points and six rebounds with Miranda Drummond posting 12 points and four assists.

The Bonnies slip to 20-5 overall and 9-3 in Atlantic 10 play while UMass improves to 7-17, 1-11. While UMass had lost its first 11 A-10 games, eight of those came by single digits and the Minutewomen finally got over the top thanks to a trio of strong performances.

Cierra Dillard was a difference maker, registering a game-high 20 points. Teammate Kymber Hill chipped in with 14 points and Bria Stallworth had a standout game of 15 points and five assists.

The Minutewomen came out firing on all cylinders, scoring on five of their first six trips down the floor, opening a 16-11 advantage with 3:30 left in the opening period.

St. Bonaventure closed to a 16-15 score after the first 10 minutes, and grabbed a 17-16 lead on Imani Outlaw's jumper for the opening bucket of the second quarter. UMass ran ahead again, however, taking a 22-17 lead with 6:54 left in the half.

The Bonnies answered back, moving ahead 23-22 with Gabby Richmond's bucket off the right block at the five minute mark. The teams swapped the lead back and forth in the next two possessions following a one-hander from Cierra Dillard and a layup by Emily Michael.

A turn-around jumper from Miranda Drummond momentarily gave St. Bonaventure a three-point advantage, but UMass would send the teams to halftime separated by just a 29-28 margin. The Bonnies shot 50 percent overall from the floor during the opening 20 minutes, but languished from long range – shooting just 1-of-9 from the perimeter.

St. Bonaventure finally created some breathing room to open the third, opening a 13-4 run for its largest lead of the game, 42-32, following a trey from Rueter in front of her own bench with 4:53 left in the quarter.

UMass refused to go away, however, immediately embarking on a 7-0 break to pull within 42-39 before a pair of Healy free throws ended the run.

A foul call with less than a second remaining in the period allowed Dillard to sink three free throws and pull within 48-47 heading for the fourth.

A jumper from Healy gave St. Bona a 54-49 edge with 6:54 to play, but it would be the last surge from the Bonnies. Stallworth immediately answered with a layup, and with 3:53 left would move ahead on two at the line from the freshman.

A pull-up jumper at the free throw line from Mariah Ruff put the Bonnies back ahead, 56-55, but six unanswered points from the Minutewomen gave the hosts an advantage they never relinquished.

The Bonnies never heated up from long range, finishing 3-of-16 from beyond the arc while UMass was 3-of-15. The Minutewomen connected on 16-of-22 shots at the foul line while the Brown and White went 11-of-12 at the stripe.

St. Bonaventure returns home to take on first-place George Washington Wednesday night. Tipoff at the Reilly Center is slated for 7 p.m.

GAME NOTES: Healy breaks a tie for fifth place in the Bonnies all-time scoring record books, finishing the afternoon with 1,594 career points to surpass Missy Ward's 1,578 ... the Bonnies assisted on 20 of 23 baskets, led by five from Michael.