Jumbo Women's Basketball to Host NCAA First and Second Rounds at Cousens This Weekend

MEDFORD - For the second straight year, the Tufts Jumbos have been selected as a host team for the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship first and second rounds.

In first round games on Friday (Mar. 1), SUNY New Paltz will face Babson at 6 pm followed by the Jumbos against St. Lawrence at 8 pm. Friday's winners will meet in the second round on Saturday (Mar. 2).

Tickets will only be available at the door. Prices are $6 for adults, $4 for students and children, and $3 for senior citizens. Tufts students are free with their college ID. Doors open at 4:30 pm on Friday and 5:30 pm on Saturday.

Head coach Carla Berube's Jumbos received an at-large berth into the 2013 NCAA field. The Jumbos are 23-2 overall, including a 9-1 record in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). The team finished in a three-way tie for first place in the conference with Amherst and Williams. After receiving the #1 seed for the conference championship due to tie-breaking procedures, the Jumbos were upset in the quarterfinals by Bowdoin.

Tufts will look to put that loss behind them when they make their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance this weekend. The Jumbos will face a 19-8 Saint Lawrence University team which is heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. The Saints defeated William Smith, 51-48, for the Liberty League title. This will be the 10th NCAA appearance for Saint Lawrence overall.

The State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) champion SUNY New Paltz Hawks (24-3) earned their first trip to the NCAA Tournament with their 64-53 win in the conference final against SUNY Geneseo on Saturday. Babson (25-2) scored a 66-55 victory over Wellesley College in the championship game of the 2013 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament on Sunday. With their fifth consecutive conference championship, the Beavers also secured their fifth straight berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Last year's Tufts Regional was an historic event for the host institution. In 1995, two years after the New England Small College Athletic Conference lifted a ban on NCAA tournament play by its teams, the Tufts men's basketball team earned its first-ever NCAA berth. The celebration was short-lived, however, because an NCAA mandate issued that same year required tournament games to be played on courts that were 94 feet long. Built to high school specifications in the 1930s, Cousens fell short. The Jumbos had to play their big game at a neutral site.

To get back in the game, the basketball court was rotated 90 degrees in 2009 to lengthen it to NCAA standards. Several other enhancements brought the arena up to modern standards. Tufts enjoyed the home experience, defeating Misericordia (61-57) and Johns Hopkins (55-46) to advance to the round of 16. The Jumbos were eliminated in a close 50-47 final by St. Thomas (MN).

Tufts will look for the same success this year. They are 7-4 overall in the tournament. Coach Berube guided the Jumbos to three straight NCAA berths from 2008-10 during which they recorded a 5-3 record. The 2008 team advanced to the "Elite 8". Last season's "sweet 16" appreance is the second-best NCAA showing in team history.

Tufts will provide Live Statistics of all three contests at this link:

http://livestats.prestosports.com/tufts

Arrangements need to be finalized, but Tufts will also webcast all three games. Links to video will be provided soon.

Here are some other links pertinent to the Tufts NCAA Women's Basketball Regional:

~ 2013 NCAA Div. III Women's Basketball Championship bracket

~ Tufts Women's Basketball website

~ St. Lawrence Women's Basketball website

~ SUNY New Paltz Women's Basketball website

~ Babson Women's Basketball website

~ NCAA.com Women's Basketball Division III

 

#