BY NATALIE HEAVREN SPORTS EDITOR
Women’s basketball fell to UMKC 64-58 Tuesday night to drop to 4-2. Jacy Bolton had her 11th career double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds, while Sarah Kaminski added a season-high 15 points.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Nicole Cardaño-Hillary needs to be successful
Nicole Cardaño-Hillary has had very few poor performances in a Mason uniform, but Tuesday night was one of them. Coming off a career-high 41 points against Penn State on Sunday, Cardaño-Hillary had just three points against the Roos.
She was able to contribute five assists. That being said, the team will need her to make shots if the team is going to win consistently this season.
Head coach Nyla Milleson acknowledged the importance of her star point guard, but could not put all the blame on her for Tuesday night’s loss.
“She’s very much a key to our success. And I can promise you they’re sitting in their locker room right now and saying, ‘We held a kid that just had 41, led the country in scoring last week, we just held her to three,’” Milleson said.
“And part of it absolutely was their defense [and] part of it was the settling on our part, and you know, we’ve just got to get better movement and got to get better shots but you know we don’t beat Penn State if she doesn’t have 41. So, you know, it’s absolutely not all on Nikki tonight but when she goes 1-16, it’s going to be a struggle for us — but at the end of the day, we still had chances,” she added.
The “Fatigue Factor”
In her opening statement, Milleson discussed the role fatigue may have played, saying, “I think there’s a fatigue factor and I’m not going to make excuses, but I think there’s a fatigue factor and an emotional factor from our big win at Penn State. We’ve talked about it the last couple of days and I thought we came out and I thought we were going to kind of get over the hump. Three quarters we guarded and then we gave up a 27 point fourth quarter, and you’re not going to win many games doing that.”
Fatigue will need to be controlled heading into next weekend when the Patriots take on Bradley and Coastal Carolina less than 48 hours apart.
Milleson commented on this saying, “We’ve got to be mentally tougher. We’ve got to be mentally tougher. You know your body’s going to do what your mind asks you to do.”
The bench needs to contribute more
Aside from Alexsis Grate, who played more minutes than three of the starters, Mason’s bench struggled to contribute.
Grate had seven points — half the team’s bench points — and seven assists in her 34 minutes.
Milleson admitted that she could have gone deeper into her bench, something she will have to do in this weekend’s game.
Mason returns home to take on Bucknell on Dec. 4 at 11 a.m.