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River Hawks stumble at Tsongas

Sophomore Amanda Ortiz goes for a layup in a 72-59 loss to the Longwood Lancers Sunday afternoon at the Tsongas Center. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics)

Alexa Hyde
Connector Editor

The luck of the Tsongas hasn’t extended into the 2016-17 season for the women’s basketball team, as the River Hawks (0-4) lost 72-59 against the Longwood Lancers (1-3) despite having a lead going into the half Sunday afternoon.

The team is now 6-7 all-time when playing at the Tsongas Center.

“The better team won. I thought Longwood did a great job in the second half of coming up with some high intensity and forced us to 22 turnovers in one half,” UMass Lowell head coach Jenerrie Harris said.

The game started off slowly, after a series of technical issues with the game clock. The first points of the contest didn’t happen until over three minutes in when Longwood started the scoring with a three-pointer.

UMass Lowell got on the board four minutes into the game, with a layup from sophomore forward Katherine Smith. Smith went on to score seven points for the River Hawks on the night. She also tallied three assists, three blocks, and two steals on the night.

The River Hawks trailed early on, falling behind by six in the first period. A scoring streak came for UMass Lowell late in the first, with two points coming from freshman guard Amanda Ortiz. A late shot by freshman forward Shawnkia McCallum tied the game up, and a free throw from Smith gave the River Hawks their first lead of the afternoon.

The start of the second period mimicked the first, with a slow start and Longwood scoring first. After three lead changes, the River Hawks were able to pull away after a three-pointer from senior guard Nicole Hayner. Hayner leads the team in points on the season, averaging ten points per game.

UMass Lowell made nine shots for 21 points in the second period to take a 34-26 lead over the Lancers going into the half. This was the River Hawks’ first lead of the season at halftime.

Entering halftime, the River Hawks led in rebounds, with 18 total and 15 from the defensive side of the court. UMass Lowell also led in three-pointers, converting eight attempts for 12 points in the first half.

On the team’s highest scoring game, Harris said, “offensively we were able to put up 59 points, [and] our goal for tonight was to put up 60.”

Longwood stepped up their defense in the third period, pressing UMass Lowell coming down the court. The Lancers had seven steals in the quarter and forced 12 UMass Lowell turnovers. 14 of Longwood’s points in the third came off of the River Hawks’ turnovers.

UMass Lowell trailed 52-49 heading into the final period. Longwood kept up the pressure, forcing another ten turnovers. The River Hawks were unable to find the same offensive momentum from the first half, and earned only another seven points in the period, five of which came from junior forward Kayla Gibbs.

Defensively, the River Hawks were unable to stop Longwood as the clock wound down. The Lancers added 20 points to extend their lead to 13 points over UMass Lowell.

“I think that we did do a lot of the things that we wanted, but at the end of the day, it came down to composure and poise and making smart decisions and playing together,” Harris said.

The River Hawks travel to face off against Indiana on Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

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