UMass basketball: Sydney Taylor’s 1st career double-double helps Minutewomen drub La Salle

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 02-04-2023 7:02 PM

Despite how long and how well she’s represented the UMass women’s basketball program, Sydney Taylor hasn’t run out of firsts yet.

The senior from Long Island, N.Y., posted her first career double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds in a 66-42 win at La Salle on Saturday. She set a career high for boards and broke 20 points for the third time in the past four games.

“I’ve been telling Sydney to rebound. It doesn’t surprise me,” UMass coach Tory Verdi said.  “Those are things that I see. The fact that she still has another year to play, it’s phenomenal.”

The Minutewomen extended their winning streak to eight games to keep a stranglehold on second place in the Atlantic 10 standings.

UMass (19-4, 9-1 Atlantic 10) didn’t score for the first 4 minutes, 40 seconds and trailed the Explorers 4-0. La Salle (14-10, 5-4) forced seven turnovers during that stretch and had 13 steals in total.

“The first half, we were sloppy with the ball. Can’t have that. Got to value the ball a little bit better,” Verdi said. “The combination of turnovers and missed layups really hurt us. It felt like we were moving so slow. It’s a road game. It’s not always going to be pretty. We figured it out and took off.”

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The Minutewomen ripped off a 15-3 run after trailing 4-0. They pushed their lead as high as 16 in the second quarter after a Taylor 3 made it 32-16 with 2:40 to halftime.

That advantage reached 24 in the second half, as UMass cruised at high speed. The Minutewomen scored 20 fast break points compared to just three for La Salle and outscored the Explorers 36-18 in the paint.

“We created some separation in the second period, and after half we did a good job changing possession,” Verdi said. “Our overall want to, our connectivity was really good.”

Angelique Ngalakulondi (11 points and 10 rebounds) and Sam Breen (10 points, 15 rebounds) also grabbed double-doubles for UMass, while Destiney Philoxy (eight points) and Ber’Nyah Mayo (two steals) distributed five assists each.

UMass will host Fordham, currently the league’s third seed, at 7 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN-Plus/NESN-Plus).

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.]]>