The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department

Amherst Wire

The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department

Amherst Wire

The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department

Amherst Wire

Kristin Williams leads UMass past St. Bonaventure 58-45

UMass finishes as the 13th seed as they head to the A-10 playoffs
Kalina Kornacki

Guard Kristin Williams pushed UMass past the St. Bonaventure Bonnies with a career-high 21 points. The Minutewomen picked up their fourth win of the season.

After going 1-8 and scoring two points against George Washington, Williams rebounded against the Bonnies. Williams shot 8-16 from the field, and was the only Minutewomen to make a three, going 5-11 from deep, while the rest of the team went 0-6. Williams caught fire from three in the third quarter, stepping up when the team needed her the most. 

With the Bonnies slowly getting back into the game, and the rest of the Minutewomen shooting poorly in the third quarter, Williams went 3-5 from three, extending the lead to 12 with two minutes to go in the quarter. Of the 11 points scored in the third quarter, Williams was responsible for nine. 

“[Williams] made a lot of timely baskets for us,” head coach Mike Leflar said. “I thought that group in the third quarter, kind of midway through the third quarter, you know, with [Williams] knocking down a couple shots and us pushing the pace really changed the energy for us and the building,”

However, the Bonnies were resilient and cut the lead down to 2 with seven minutes left in the game. UMass’ defense came through in the last seven minutes of the game, holding the Bonnies to 1-9 shooting. The Minutewomen capitalized on this, ending the quarter on a 17-6 run. Defensively, the Minutewomen forced the Bonnies into 15 turnovers, scoring 16 points off of them. Additionally, UMass held St. Bonaventure to 27% shooting from the field. 

“We did a great job against [George Washington] just keeping the ball in front of us,” said Leflar. “I just wanted to carry that over [on Wednesday]. St. Bonaventure has a lot of movement, especially on the weak side, and if you get beat off the dribble, that allows the ball handlers to find a lot of shooters. So, we did a good job keeping them all in front of us.” 

Despite the Bonnies heading to the free throw line 10 more times than the Minutewomen and the Bonnies winning the offensive rebound battle 19 to 8, UMass never trailed in the game, securing their fourth win of the season. Along with Williams setting a career-high in points, center Chinenye Odenigbo set a career-high in blocks with four. 

“Since [Odenigbo has] been in the starting lineup, [she’s] just been getting more and more comfortable, more and more confident, especially the last two days of practice,” Leflar said.

The Minutewomen now turn their attention to the A-10 tournament down in Richmond, VA. With the win, the Minutewomen improved to 4-26, 2-16 in the A-10 and clinched the 13 seed in the tournament.

“I mean, the last two games, [George Washington] and [St. Bonaventure] obviously with where the three of our teams are in the standings, you know, they were like Super Bowls for me,” Leflar said.

“I don’t care who you’re playing or where you’re playing. The importance of each possession, the importance of each game, the importance of each practice. I mean, it’s not about who you’re playing, it’s about the fact that you’re wearing Massachusetts in front of your jersey. You got to approach the game with respect and pride, and that’s what I want our program to stand for.” Leflar said.

Williams is excited about the tournament and the team is taking a fresh approach to the tournament. 

“So, I think we got to go in with a fresh mindset,”  said Williams. “Everyone is 0-0. The tournament is so much different. We know we can play, we know we have it, we just have to go in balling out. Honestly, it’s going to be fun.” The Minutewomen will look to bring this new mentality against La Salle on Mar. 6 at noon.


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