MEDFORD - The sixth-ranked Tufts University Women's Basketball team finished 10-0 in NESCAC for the third straight season after earning a 62-37 victory over Williams College tonight at Cousens Gymnasium.
|Nicole Brooks and three classmates were honored on Seniors Night|
The Jumbos have won 31 straight conference games overall dating back to February 2013. Tufts, led by 15 points from sophomore Melissa Baptista tonight, improved to 21-2 overall. The Jumbos will be the #1 seed in the conference championship tournament which starts next Saturday.
Williams (17-6, 5-4 NESCAC) was led by 11 points from sophomore Amanni Fernandez tonight. The Ephs finish their regular-season at Bates College Sunday at 2 pm. Pairings for the 2016 NESCAC Championship will be announced on Sunday.
The Ephs got out to a 7-2 lead tonight as Fernandez scored four early points. However, the Jumbos finished a low-scoring first quarter on an 8-3 run and led 10-9 after one. The Jumbos led despite being 4 for 19 (21.1 percent) overall and 0 for 9 from three-point land in the first 10 minutes.
The Jumbos opened up a lead in the second. A lay-up by Williams junior Devon Caveney had the visitors within 12-11 early in the period. The Jumbos went on a 12-1 run from there to build a 24-12 advantage on a three by sophomore Lauren Dillon at 6:10. Five different Jumbos scored during the stretch, including a three-pointer by senior Maura Folliard which led it off.
The Tufts advantage was 12 at the half (30-18) as they outscored Williams 20-9 in the second quarter. Junior Michela North had eight points and six rebounds at the break for Tufts, while Baptista also had eight points. Fernandez had six for Williams.
After trading baskets early in the third quarter - Williams was within 34-20 on Fernandez's hoop at 6:31 - the Jumbos pulled away. A 13-3 stretch over the final six minutes of the third put Tufts up 24 (47-23) heading into the fourth. Dillon had eight of Tufts' 13 points during the run.
Tufts' lead got as high as 30 three times in the fourth quarter as they cruised to the win. Baptista added six rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals to her game. Dillon was the only other Jumbo to score in double figures with 11. She had three assists and three steals as well. North finished with eight points and eight rebounds while junior Josie Lee had eight points with five rebounds.
Williams senior Oge Uwanaka pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go with her six points. Caveney finished with six points and seven rebounds. The Ephs shot just 25.9 percent (15/58) from the floor and 3 for 17 (17.6) from distance. They did take a 45-40 advantage on the boards.
The Jumbos have not lost a NESCAC regular-season game since a 54-48 final at Amherst on February 2, 2013.