UMass basketball: Kristin Williams, Minutewomen push back but ultimately fall to Richmond 79-65

UMass guard Kristin Williams (5) drives to the hoop against UAlbany in the second quarter earlier this season at the Mullins Center in Amherst.

UMass guard Kristin Williams (5) drives to the hoop against UAlbany in the second quarter earlier this season at the Mullins Center in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 01-10-2024 4:38 PM

The UMass women’s basketball team trailed by six points coming out of the halftime break on the road against Richmond on Wednesday afternoon. As heavy underdogs, the Minutewomen were playing with house money, and it looked as if they knew that with how they started the third quarter.

UMass ripped off the frame’s first seven points, capped off by a Kristin Williams layup, to take a 36-35 lead and force a Spiders timeout.

Richmond eventually regained control of the game, just as the No. 1 team in the Atlantic 10 was expected to do, and fended off a late Minutewomen rally – where UMass cut the once 11-point fourth quarter deficit to five midway through the fourth quarter – to win 79-65 and improve to 4-0 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Williams finished with 19 points in the loss, her fifth time in the last six games where she scored at least 14 points. The junior guard has emerged as a deadly scoring weapon from all three levels on the floor.

Alexsia Rose (13 points, four assists) and Stefanie Kulesza (12 points, eight rebounds) each continued their strong play as well, with Kulesza converting the aforementioned bucket that made it 64-59 with 5:19 to go.

After that layup, Richmond finished the game on a 15-6 run, ushered by Rachel Ullstrom – who scored 26 huge points off the bench. Ullstrom scored nine of the Spiders’ final 15 points, and buried six 3s over the course of Wednesday’s contest.

The Minutewomen’s (3-13, 1-3 A-10) output over the last four games is a drastic difference than what was shown during their nine-game losing streak prior to conference play. UMass looks to turn its high quality play into a win when it returns to action Saturday at La Salle at 3 p.m.

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