No. 3/4 Women’s Basketball Will Host First Two Rounds of NCAA Tournament on Friday and Saturday

MEDFORD, Mass. – For the sixth consecutive season and ninth time in program history, the No. 3/4 Tufts University women's basketball team has qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament, as the seeds in the Division III bracket were released on Monday afternoon. 

The Jumbos (25-2, 9-1 in NESCAC) will host first- and second-round action at Cousens Gym in Medford, Massachusetts, on Friday and Saturday. The Jumbos will square off against Saint Joseph's of Maine (24-4, 15-1 in GNAC) in the opening round, while DeSales (20-7, 11-3 in MAC Freedom) and Husson (22-4, 16-2 in NAC) will compete against each other in the other opening-round matchup on Friday. 

The Jumbos have been a model of success over the last six seasons under 15th-year head coach Carla Berube, as the Jumbos have recorded a 17-7 mark in the NCAA Tournament over that span. The Jumbos have reached the Final Four in three consecutive seasons, while posting an outstanding 13-5 mark on the NCAA stage from 2014-16. The squad reached the Final Four for the first time in program history during the 2013-14 season, and then competed in the national championship last April for the first time in school history, falling short, 63-51, to Thomas More at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. 

The defense-first Jumbos currently boast the second-best scoring defense among all Division III institutions in the country, allowing only 42.1 points per game. The squad has been led by strong leadership from its three captains in seniors Michela North and Josie Lee, and junior point guard Lauren Dillon. Dillon, the Jumbos' on-court general, is averaging team highs of 2.9 steals and 3.9 assists, as she ranks No. 1 and 2, respectively, in those categories within the NESCAC Conference. 

Junior forward Melissa Baptista leads the Jumbos in points (12.7) and blocks per game (1.7), while shooting a team-high 37.4 percent from behind the 3-point line (37-for-99). She checks in at No. 2 in the NESCAC in blocks, No. 5 in 3-point percentage and No. 7 in scoring. 

The Jumbos have reached four consecutive NESCAC championship games, defeating Amherst, 62-46, in the title game in 2014 for the program's first-ever conference crown. The Jumbos' kept rolling and hoisted another conference championship in 2015, defeating Bowdoin, 68-52, in the title game. 

The Jumbos will be joined in the national tournament, by a pair of familiar NESCAC schools in No. 1 Amherst (27-0, 10-0) and No. 17/21 Bowdoin (21-4, 8-2). The Jumbos' defeated the Polar Bears, 49-44, in the semifinals of the conference tournament in Amherst, Massachusetts, on Saturday. Amherst then utilized a 21-6 advantage in the third quarter during the championship game, en route to edging Tufts, 41-37, as Amherst hoisted the conference crown for the second straight season. 

Amherst will also host a pair of games this weekend, as it will compete against Regis (Mass.) on Friday, and Bowdoin will take on SUNY New Paltz on Friday in Ithaca, New York.

Written by Trevor Wenners, Athletic Communications Intern

Link: NCAA Division III Bracket

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2017 NCAA Div. III Women's Basketball Tufts Regional
All games at Cousens Gymnasium
161 College Avenue - Medford, Mass. 

FRIDAY, MARCH 3 - NCAA 1st Round
Husson (22-4) vs. DeSales (20-7), 5 pm
Webcast - http://www.jumbocast.com/
Live Stats - http://hussoneagles.com/sports/wbkb/2016-17/boxscores/20170303_ty2o.xml

FRIDAY, MARCH 3 - NCAA 1st Round
Tufts (25-2) vs. St. Joseph's, Maine (24-4), 7 pm
Webcast - http://www.jumbocast.com/
Live Stats - http://www.gotuftsjumbos.com/sports/wbkb/2016-17/boxscores/20170303_8o57.xml

SATURDAY, MARCH 4 - NCAA 2nd Round
First Round Winners, 5 pm
Webcast - http://www.jumbocast.com/
Live Stats link will be provided when match-up is set.

TICKETS
Adults $7
Seniors & Students w/ ID $4
No advance sales at Tufts. Doors open at 3:45 on Friday and Saturday.

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