UMass basketball: Minutewomen battle league-leading Saint Joseph’s before falling 77-67

UMass guard Alexsia Rose (0) breaks down the court defended by UAlbany’s Deja Evans (22) earlier this season at the Mullins Center in Amherst.

UMass guard Alexsia Rose (0) breaks down the court defended by UAlbany’s Deja Evans (22) earlier this season at the Mullins Center in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 02-03-2024 7:01 PM

Another game, another close loss where it played a superior opponent tough for the UMass women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia.

The Minutewomen fell 77-67 to Atlantic 10-leading Saint Joseph’s.

UMass was within three points after Kristin Williams buried a 3-pointer to make it 67-64 with under three minutes to go.

The Hawks didn’t convert a field goal the rest of the way, but their clutch free throw shooting and strong defense down the stretch helped them to a win and a 21-2 record (10-1 A-10).

Talya Brugler poured in a game-high 30 points on an efficient 10-for-14 shooting and 9-for-11 from the charity stripe. Brugler also added seven rebounds and four assists. UMass had no answer for the junior forward all game.

Alexsia Rose continued her strong play for UMass, as the senior netted a career-high 22 points and recorded four assists and a steal. Rose put up nine second-quarter points in a frame in which the Minutewomen out-scored Saint Joseph’s, 20-16.

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Bre Bellamy scored 12 points and grabbed five boards while Williams (four rebounds, two assists) and Stefanie Kulesza (four rebounds) each scored 10 points to make it four double-digit scorers for UMass.

Tori Hyduke (five points), Lilly Taulelei (four points) and Lily Ferguson (four points) rounded out the Minutewomen scoring.

The Hawks are the best team in the Atlantic 10, so to hang with them the entire way on the road was impressive for a UMass team that has struggled in conference play this year.

UMass (3-20, 1-10 A-10) hosts Duquesne for a 6 p.m. tip on Wednesday night.