Following a 51-point win against Sacred Heart to open up the season, the University of Rhode Island women’s basketball team beat UMass Lowell River Hawks on Friday night, before falling to the Maine Black Bears on Tuesday.
Against the River Hawks, the Rams sprinted out to a quick 12-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game. During that stretch, fifth-year Tiesha Hyman compiled nine points, converting a three-pointer, a two-point jumpshot and two layups.
With four and a half minutes left in the first quarter, fourth-year Sydney Watkins finally converted the first points of the game for Lowell, a layup from the left side that trimmed the URI lead to 12-2.
Rhody’s lead continued to grow throughout the quarter until fifth-year Dee Dee Davis knocked down a jump shot from the elbow to move the Rhody lead to 16. The score stood at 20-4.
In the second quarter, the Rhode Island lead continued to grow all the way up to a 23-point advantage when first-year Eva DeChent converted on a three-pointer from the left corner. However, a scoring drought from both sides ensued following the bucket.
The offensive struggles from Rhody lasted three minutes before Davis saw her layup drop. Even with the drought, Rhody’s defense held strong, not allowing a point from Lowell in the final five minutes of the first half. As a result of this defensive performance, Rhode Island went into halftime with a 48-12 lead.
The third quarter was not as kind to Rhode Island offensively. Following a 7-0 run to start the half, Rhody entered a dark scoring period. The Rams failed to tally a point for over seven minutes. Finally, third-year Sophie Phillips made a layup in the paint to end the drought.
Despite the offensive struggles, Rhode Island’s defense only allowed Lowell to score 10 points in the third quarter, resulting in Rhode Island still holding a 57-22 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter saw much more scoring than the third, although the scoring came from both ends unlike the first half.
However, it was Rhode Island in the end who shut the door with a 9-1 run to close out the game. The Rams were victorious over the River Hawks 78-38.
“[I was] really really happy with our first half play,” Reiss said. “We had high energy, started the game well, executed everything we wanted to do well in the first half from our pressure defensively to our offense….[In the] second half, we lost a lot of luster. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in the second half so it really took us out of our mojo a bit.” Teisha Hyman, who posted six steals in the first half alone, also spoke postgame. Hyman touched on the impact that defense has on a game, especially when the entire team is collaborating in a defensive effort.
“We talk about defense every day in practice,” Hyman said. “I just trust my teammates, I know if Dee Dee [Davis] works hard, I have to work hard too… It’s easy when you trust your teammates on defense, everyone just kind of rotates and just works hard… we just lock in.”
The Rams then began their five-game road trip with a contest at Maine on Tuesday night. Rhode Island beat the Black Bears 63-43 last December at The Ryan Center.
The game began tightly contested, with neither squad able to garner a lead more than three points. The first quarter ended in a low scoring manner, Maine held the advantage 12-11 after the first 10 minutes.
The second quarter saw Rhode Island pull ahead four minutes in with a made free throw from fourth-year Mayé Touré. Rhody kept the lead for the rest of the half, and even saw it grow to a five-point advantage with a fast break jumper from Davis. The Rams went into halftime with a 27-25 lead.
The Rams’ lead stood for the majority of the third quarter as well. However, two layups in under 30 seconds from fifth-year Anne Simon gave the Black Bears the lead going into the fourth quarter, 42-40.
Maine’s 13-4 run to open up the final quarter of play gifted the Black Bears a 55-44 lead with under five minutes remaining in the game. Following that run, Rhody was only able to tally four points during the rest of the game, allowing Maine to escape with a 59-48 win.
The scoring output from Rhode Island was their lowest tally since Feb. 16, 2021 when the Rams fell to Dayton, 47-37.
Throughout the loss, the Rams shot one for 22 from three-point range, an uncharacteristic percentage from a normally strong three-point shooting team.
The Rams will look to bounce back when they take on Brown in Providence on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+.