Women’s basketball team falls to Tufts in NESCAC semifinals
|Sarah Barton ’08 had a team-high 14 points and nine rebounds.|
BRUNSWICK, Maine — The Tufts University women’s basketball team will play in its first NESCAC championship game after earning a 52-39 victory over Bates College in the semifinal round of the conference tournament hosted by Bowdoin College on Saturday afternoon.
The No. 2 seed Jumbos will play top seed Bowdoin, a 66-46 winner over Williams in the other semifinal, for the title on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Against third-seed Bates, Tufts (18-7) built a remarkable 29-9 halftime lead and then held off a comeback attempt by the Bobcats (15-10) in the second half.
The Jumbos led 9-5 at the 12-minute mark of the first half, then outscored the Bobcats 20-4 over the remainder of the period. Junior guard Jenna Gomez (Norfolk, Mass.) had 12 points at the break, while Bates shot 17.4 percent (4/23). From 11:24 to 1:04 of the first half, the Bobcats made only one of 13 shots and turned the ball over six times. Sophomore Kim Moynihan (West Hartford, Conn.) added six points and classmate Stacy Filocco (Olney, Md.) had five to help Tufts build its big lead.
However, Bates scored the first nine points of the second half while Tufts went cold. The Bobcats were within 11 at 29-18 following a layup by Val Beckwith (Woburn, Mass.) at 15:21. The Jumbos missed their first seven shots of the second half and turned it over three times. They broke the Bates run with a free throw by senior Laura Jasinski (Leverett, Mass.) at 14:08 for their first points of the half.
Bates cut the margin to 10 points at 34-24 on a Lauren Yanofsky (Belmont, Mass.) layup at 9:27, but Tufts was able to keep its distance. A 10-2 spurt capped by a big three-pointer from Moynihan had the Tufts lead at 18 points, 44-26, with 6:23 to play in regulation. Junior Khalilah Ummah (Litchfield, Maine) added two free throws to the Jumbo run and the margin was back at 20, 46-26, at 5:53.
The Bobcats kept fighting and managed to narrow the margin to nine points (48-39) with a 13-2 stretch that ended with a three-pointer by senior captain Katie Franklin (New Preston, Conn.) at 2:19 and a jumper by Yanofsky at 1:26. However, Tufts senior Taryn Miller-Stevens (Avon, Conn.) went 4 for 4 at the free throw line in the final 45 seconds to seal the victory.
The Jumbos were led by 14 points and eight rebounds from Gomez. Miller-Stevens finished with eight points, eight rebounds and five assists. Moynihan recorded nine points and nine rebounds. Tufts was 16 for 19 from the line in the game and scored 12 of their 23 second-half points there. With their 18th win of the season, the Jumbos matched the second-best total in their 35-year history.
Bates was paced by 14 points and nine rebounds by junior guard Sarah Barton (Portsmouth, N.H.). Yanofsky had 12 points and Beckwith added six points with seven rebounds, two steals and two assists. The 39 points scored was the lowest total of the season for the Bobcats.
Bates’ season and the collegiate careers of seniors Franklin and Maggie Fitzgerald (Wethersfield, Conn.) may be over, but the Bobcats will be checking for their name when the field for the NCAA Division III Championship is announced Sunday night.