Freshman guard Jennifer Louro dribbles down the court. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics)
The UMass Lowell women’s basketball team lost 70-49 against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats on senior night Thursday evening. Forward Kayla Gibbs was the lone senior for the River Hawks. Her night was capped off with 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
“I think the biggest thing about Kayla is how she’s evolved over the years. Obviously, her being a 1000-point scorer and leading UMass Lowell in field-goal percentage and being one of the top field-goal percentage shooters in the league is just a testament to how much she has grown over the years but also how much of an impact she’s been since her freshman year,” said UMass Lowell head coach Jenerrie Harris. “We are very grateful to have had her. I’m more excited to just see what she has for the rest of the season.”
Freshman guard Paula Lopez played all 40 minutes of the game doing a little bit of everything. She had four points, three assists, five rebounds and three steals. Sophomore guard Megan Hendrick scored 12 points and had five rebounds and two steals. The two guards lead the UMass Lowell offense to a great first half.
The first quarter began with a 9-4 run for the River Hawks. Defense played a big part in UMass Lowell maintaining their lead in the first quarter. The team utilized a 2-3 zone to force turnovers and get baskets in transition.
UMass Lowell kept up the pace for the first half leading the Wildcats 28-23. On the first half start, Harris said, “in the first half we did a good job moving and creating offensive touches. [In the] second half we just didn’t get those same looks. They made some really good adjustments at halftime.”
Those adjustments made by the University of New Hampshire helped them close the gap and eventually take the lead for the rest of the game. The result played similarly to the previous matchup in Durham on Jan. 15. In that game, the River Hawks did not trail for the first 25 minutes. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter where the Wildcats when on a run to win the game.
“I think it’s a great matchup for us,” said Harris on the two games against the Wildcats. “The score doesn’t reflect that which is a bit of a bummer because we felt like it was a closer game than it reflects this time as well as the first time. I think that has a little more to do with our mental approach down the stretch as opposed to what the matchups looked like.”
Harris spoke highly of her young squad praising the relentless nature of their play as the team looks to finish strong heading into the postseason for the first time in their history.
UMass Lowell will finish the regular season at home against the University of Maryland Baltimore County on Sunday at the Costello Athletic Center. The River Hawks will then go into postseason play, likely at UMBC, on Feb. 28 in the play-in round of the America East women’s basketball tournament.