|First year Liz Moynihan just missed a double-double for the Jumbos
MEDFORD -- The Tufts University Jumbos used a strong defensive effort to improve their NESCAC record to 4-2 with a 57-47 women's basketball victory over the Wesleyan University Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at Cousens Gym.
The first half was nip-and-tuck as the Jumbos held a slim two-point advantage at the break, 22-20. There were six ties and four lead changes through the first 20 minutes.
Junior Tiffany Kornegay (Carver, MA) collected eight points in the first stanza, but Tufts shot only 29 percent for the half (9/31).
The Cardinals did not fair much better at 36.4 percent (8/22), and were troubled by nine turnovers and nine Tufts offensive boards. Senior Erin Gold (New Hope, PA) tallied eight first-half points for Wesleyan, including a perfect two of two from three-point range.
In the second half, the Cardinals stormed ahead with seven straight points including a three-pointer by senior Allie Southam (Santa Monica, CA). They would hold the lead until the 11:36 mark when a free throw by sophomore Collier Clegg (Evanston, IL) tied the game for the Jumbos at 29.
A pair of free throws by first year Caitlin McClure (Arlington, VA) less than a minute later gave Tufts a lead that they never give up.
The contest stayed within two possessions until senior Vanessa Miller (Cincinnati, OH) knocked down a jumper with 4:23 left to give Tufts a seven-point advantage at 45-38. Miller tallied 12 of her team-high 16 points in the second stanza.
The Cardinals hung around and pulled to within four, 46-42, with 3:06 remaining, but the Jumbos answered with consecutive three-point baskets by Clegg and Miller to push the lead up to 10. Each would add late free throws to seal the game for Tufts.
Miller tallied her 16 points on six of 10 shooting from the floor including two for four from behind the three-point arc. Clegg also reached double digits, finishing with 12 points and adding six rebounds. First year Liz Moynihan (Storrs, CT) finished a rebound shy of collecting a double-double with 12 points and nine boards.
Gold was the game's high scorer for Wesleyan at 17 points, going five of 10 from the field. Sophomore Kendra Harris (St. Paul, MN) chipped in with 12 for the Cardinals in 18 minutes off the bench.
The Jumbos took care of the ball, turning it over just 10 times and forcing 14 Cardinal turnovers. Tufts destroyed Wesleyan in the rebounding battle, 51-30, including 23-3 in the offensive category, which led to 17 more field-goal opportunities.
Tufts, playing without junior Kate Barnosky (Huntington Station, NY) and senior Colleen Hart (Needham, MA), improved to 15-3 on the season. The Jumbos are 3-1 without Hart in the lineup. Wesleyan is now 6-12 overall and 0-6 in the NESCAC.
The Jumbos start a three-game road swing against the #2 ranked Amherst Lord Jeffs on Friday at 8 pm. Wesleyan hosts Emmanuel College on Wednesday at 7:30.