Women’s basketball earns first win of the season over Columbia

The win snaps the River Hawk’s 18-game losing streak. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics)

Jason Ounpraseuth
Connector Staff

The UMass Lowell women’s basketball team beat Columbia University Lions  77-70 on Wednesday evening at the Costello Athletic Center. The win snaps the team’s 18-game losing streak dating back to last year.

Redshirt junior guard Brianna Rudolph led the game tying her career-high 18 points and grabbed five rebounds.

“We followed out game plan. We played some pretty good defense,” Rudolph said. “It felt good to pull out a win against a really good team.”

Freshman guard Paula Lopez was the team’s second-leading scorer with 15 points while also getting seven rebounds. Freshman guard Linda Svenne paced the team from beyond the arc going 4-7 from the three-point line and scored 14 points in total.

The UMass Lowell bench outscored Columbia 30-18. Svenne and junior guard Cierra Stanciel were the key contributors for Coach Jenerrie Harris’s squad.

“They were great. They were amazing. Linda’s ability to defend their best player was huge for us,” said Harris. “Cierra was gritty for us. She found a way to get to the free throw line. She was getting loose balls. She was diving on the floor for us. Both of them coming out of the bench was literally the difference maker for us.”

The River Hawks jumped to a 4-0 lead to start the game off but turnovers helped the Lions go on a 15-2 run to maintain early control of the tempo of the game. The Lions utilized a press on the UMass Lowell ball-handlers and especially tryed to contain early season standout Lopez.

Rudolph led the River Hawks with seven points in the first quarter helping the team go on a run to get the lead back with a score of 20-19. Offensive rebounding was the key that kept possessions alive, and it forced Columbia head coach Megan Griffith to go with a full line-up change. The quarter went back and forth with the Lions leading 24-22 to end the first.

UMass Lowell struggled to score early in the second quarter until a three-pointer from Svenne. The team’s defense held Columbia to just four points throughout most of the quarter allowing for the team to get a 29-28 lead past the halfway point of the quarter.

The rest of the quarter ended in a back and forth defensive battle with the game tied 34-34 at the half. Lopez led the half with nine points but struggled at the free throw line going 5 for 12.

Columbia shot their way to a 43-40 lead as they looked to get off to a good start behind the arc going 2 for 3 to start the second half after going 2 for 9 in the first half. The River Hawks continued to attack the basket and get points at the free throw line to keep the game close.

The rest of the quarter was a back and forth affair. Stanciel and Svenne led the way for UMass Lowell on both ends of the floor helping them to a 58-54 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The River Hawks continued their offensive game plan to attack the basket and score points in the paint and amassed the largest lead in the game with 8 points going up 66-58 halfway into the final quarter.

Two three-pointers from Columbia cut the lead to 67-64 forcing a timeout from Harris. The Lions tied the game up at 70 apiece with a 1:40 left to go.

Rudolph then answered back with two baskets giving UMass Lowell the 74-70 lead with less than 35 seconds left to go. Those shots would prove to be the end of Columbia’s comeback attempt as UMass Lowell won 77-70.

The River Hawks will go on a two-game road stand before returning home to play Fisher College on Nov. 27.

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