BY NATALIE HEAVREN, SPORTS EDITOR
Women’s Basketball’s season ended Tuesday afternoon after losing 86-80 to the University of Massachusetts in double overtime.
After the Patriots overcame a 10 point first quarter deficit, they led by as many as five in the fourth quarter. The Minutewomen tied the game with 54 seconds to go in regulation.
Two free throws from Alexsis Grate with 24 seconds left in the first overtime period sent the game to a second overtime period. Though Mason led by four with three minutes to go in the second overtime period, UMass went on a 10-0 run and led by six with 39 seconds to go.
“This one stings, and unfortunately it’s going to sting until next November,” head coach Nyla Milleson said to open the press conference.
“I felt like, obviously, we did not [play well] last Saturday, but we were playing our best basketball down the stretch and to lose this one today at home stings, but we’ve got a great nucleus coming back and this will definitely motivate us and drive us going into the offseason,” she said.
Coming off an overtime loss at La Salle on Saturday afternoon, both Jacy Bolton and Nicole Cardaño-Hillary played all 50 minutes against UMass. Bolton scored a career-high 35 points and added 16 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Cardaño-Hillary added 21 points, nine rebounds and four steals.
After the game, Bolton was asked about her career performance.“I wanted to give it my all because I didn’t want it to be senior year yet,” she said holding back tears.
“I wrote this team a note before the game, this is the thirty-third, thirty-fourth year, whatever-my-old-age-is year for me, this has probably been one of the most enjoyable, fun, caring, loving teams that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach,” Milleson said.
“[The] most important thing is I don’t want this team to ever change as people,” she continued “I wouldn’t go to battle with anybody else. They laid it on the line today. Every day they came in and they were great teammates to each other and I know our job is to win basketball games but I also have an obligation when I recruit these kids, these young women, to make sure that they are better people, better citizens, better prepared when they leave and there’s not a question that we got that accomplished this year and I hurt for them today.”
Cardaño-Hillary was asked about what the team accomplished this season. “At the beginning of the year nobody thought we’d ever even get close to this far, not that we had to prove anything to anybody but we proved it to ourselves that we are capable and we’ll be capable next year,” she said. “And like coach said, this game doesn’t define us. It’s been a great season … I mean you couldn’t ask for more.”