Baptista's 20 Points Lead Women's Basketball to NESCAC Quarterfinal Win

Maura Folliard turned in nine points and six boards off the bench

MEDFORD – Behind 20 points from sophomore Melissa Baptista, the No. 6 Tufts women's basketball team beat Middlebury 68-36 in NESCAC Quarterfinal play at Cousens Gym on Saturday afternoon.  The Jumbos are the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament and will now host semifinal and final play next weekend.

With the win the Jumbos move to 22-2 on the season, as the Panthers see their season come to an end with a 12-13 record.  The Jumbos will be looking to win their third consecutive conference title next weekend with semifinal play scheduled for Saturday and the conference finals on Sunday afternoon.

Middlebury was the first to score in today's game as Alex Huffman put the Panthers ahead to start the game.  But a layup by sophomore Melissa Baptista tied the contest and the Jumbos would never trail after that.  The Panthers hung around in the first period, never allowing the Jumbos to lead by more than six points.

In the second quarter the Jumbos were able to grow their lead.  Senior Maura Folliard drained a jumper that put the Jumbos up by eight, and sophomore Lauren Dillon added two of her first half-leading seven points to grow the lead to ten.  After two by the Panthers Sabrina Weeks, Baptista pushed the Jumbo lead back to ten and Dillon drained a three to give the Jumbos a 13 point advantage.  

Going into halftime the Jumbos had a 12-point advantage, leading the Panthers, 31-19.  Dillon was the point leader for the Jumbos with seven, while Baptista added six points through the first two quarters.  For the Panthers, Weeks was the leader with six points.  

The Jumbos were able to pull away from the Panthers after halftime.  Baptista turned in 12 points in the third quarter alone to help the Jumbos who would end the third quarter ahead by 32 points.

The fourth quarter was not much different, as the Jumbos would lead by as many as 37 thanks to a three point play from freshman Jacqueline Knapp who made a layup and was fouled, sinking the free throw to move the margin to 62-25 in the Jumbos favor.  

Ten different Jumbos scored on the day, as Baptista was the leader with 20 points and five rebounds.  Dillon finished with 10 points and five steals for the Jumbos.  Senior Maura Folliard turned in nine points and a team-leading six rebounds off the bench for the Jumbos.

For Middlebury Sarah Kaufman finished with ten points while Eileen Daley added eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds.  Catherine Harrison helped with six points and eight rebounds.

The Jumbos will be back in action next weekend as they host NESCAC Tournament semifinal and finals action in Cousens Gym.  They await their opponent as the teams will be reseeded after the conclusion of Saturday's quarterfinal games.