Rams Falter on Senior Night, Fall to UMass 71-64

Rams Falter on Senior Night, Fall to UMass 71-64

Rhody Starters
Melendez, Wilson, Banker, Ward, Tabakman

Massachusetts Starters
Mulligan, Stallworth, Timbilla, McDerment, Hill

How It Happened
Rhode Island built a 19-point lead, but Massachusetts used its 3-point shooting to come from behind and beat the Rams, 71-64 Wednesday night.

After a tight first quarter saw Rhode Island take a slim 12-10 into the first break, the Rams built a double-digit lead in the second. Rhody pushed it to as many as 14 - behind the interior play of Samantha Tabakman, who scored six of the team's first eight points in the quarter. With the offense clicking, the Ram defense held Massachusetts without a field goal for the first 7:43 of the quarter, helping establish a 31-18 halftime lead.

Rhode Island (11-16, 5-10 A-10) opened the third quarter on an 8-2 run and pushed its lead to as many as 19 points. Massachusetts then used a 15-2 run to cut the lead 41-35 with 3:35 left in the third quarter. At the end of the third, Rhode Island held a 46-39 advantage.

A 3-pointer by Cierra Dillard pulled Massachusetts within four in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Another jumper by Dillard made it a two-point game with 7:19 to go. Melendez hit a layup to push URI's lead back to four, and then the defense forced a shot clock violation. On the ensuing possession, Tabakman scored off a dish from Charise Wilson, but Dillard responded with a trey to cut the lead in half.

After a Wilson layup, Kymber Hill converted an old-fashion 3-pointer, and then Dillard banked in a trey to give Massachusetts a 55-54 advantage. Symone Bullard gave Rhody the lead back with a pull-up jumper.

UMass (10-17, 4-11 A-10) went back ahead on a 3-ball by Hill to make it 58-57 with 2:29 to go. Dillard then hit her seventh 3-pointer of the night to put the Minutewomen up by four with 2:17 to go. Massachusetts never relinquished the lead from there.
Inside the Box Score

  • Before the game, seniors Tayra Melendez, Symone Bullard, Brianna Thomas and Samantha Tabakman were honored as a part of URI's Senior Night ceremony. All four played in their final game in the Ryan Center.
  • Tayra Melendez had two blocked shots in the first quarter, the second of which was the 150th of her career. She is just the second player in program history to reach 150, joining Naomi Graves (1978-82).
  • Melendez filled the stat sheet. In addition to the blocked shots, she had eight points, nine rebounds and four assists. 
  • Charise Wilson had 15 points and five assists. She has reached double digits for the 27th time this season.
  • Samantha Tabakman finished with 15 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots before fouling out.
  • Symone Bullard scored eight points off the bench. She also had three rebounds and two assists.
  • Brianna Thomas made her lone shot of the game, a 3-pointer in the first half.
  • Massachusetts finished the game 10-of-18 from the 3-point arc. Nine of the makes came in the second half.

Stat of the Game
32 – UMass scored 32 points in the fourth quarter, marking the most points the Rams had allowed in a single period this season.

What's Next
Rhode Island finishes the regular season at Saint Louis on Saturday, Feb. 27. Tipoff is 3 p.m. Eastern Time.