Freshman guard Linda Svenne drives to the basket. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics).
The UMass Lowell women’s basketball team lost in a close game against the Stony Brook Seawolves 63-60 extending their 14-game losing streak to 15 games. The game came down to free throws from Stony Brook and a missed game-tying three-point shot from UMass Lowell redshirt junior Brianna Rudolph.
Senior forward Kayla Gibbs achieved a career milestone eclipsing 750 rebounds, adding to her recent milestone of being the 16th player in program history to score more than 1,000 points while also becoming the ninth-leading scorer in program history.
“I really liked how we played defensively and offensively. Of course, there were things that I would have liked to have seen go different,” said UMass Lowell head coach Jenerrie Harris. “Even the last shot, I would have loved to have that moment back again. I totally mismanaged that.”
The River Hawks found themselves trailing 13-6 early in the first quarter. Gibbs lead the offense to cut the deficit to 17-16 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was a back-and-forth affair with each team answering back with shot after shot. Gibbs did not miss a shot in the first half going 8-8 from the field finding creative ways to score points. Her 16 points tied the game 35-35 at the half.
The second half came down to defense. Freshman guard Linda Svenne was given the assignment to guard Stony Brook’s leading scorer and stepped up to the challenge with high praise from Coach Harris.
“Linda had to defend her [in] the previous game, and we were able to hold her below her average in the first game to 11, and I think Linda did an even better job this time around,” said Harris. “She’s getting really great experience right now as a freshman and everybody has a job they need to do and we spoke about that with the team. I thought she did the job we asked her to do.”
Rudolph had a slow start in the first half only scoring three points. She exploded with 13 second half points, scoring key baskets in the final minutes of the game. Rudolph led the offense along with sophomore guard Megan Hendrick who played more of a leading ball handler role.
“[For] Megan to play 34 minutes at point and only have one turnover it says a lot about her composure. I thought we were organized in the things we were trying to execute,” said Harris. “Between her efforts and being able to have Paula [Lopez] on the wing a little bit more as more of a scoring threat, it was good for us. [Reducing turnovers] was a focus and it was definitely intentional.”
The game came down to free throw shooting, and Stony Brook hit their free throws and enough chances to come away with the victory. Rudolph finished the game with a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Gibbs tallied 21 points along with nine rebounds.
“If anything, with us coming down the pipeline of conference [games] and seeing our team play that hard at this point in the season, it’s really encouraging,” said Harris. “Even in the locker room, they’re still looking ahead to the next game and the next game and the next game, so I’m just enthused about this group and how hard working and how invested they are.”
Harris also had praise for the Seawolves and the response her team had this time around. “Credit to Stony Brook. I believe that they’re hands down the hardest working team in the league regardless of their talent [or] who’s on their team. Year by year they give you the same consistent work ethic. Last year they did that, and we didn’t step up to the challenge, and they ran us off the court. This year we just have a group that has bought in and wants to work hard.”
UMass Lowell will finish their two-game homestand Sunday against Vermont at the Tsongas Center and will then travel to Maine and Binghamton for a two-game road trip.