NAPLES, Fla. – No. 4 Tufts women's basketball (10-0) coasted to a 66-34 victory over Suffolk (8-4) in their opening game of the Naples Shootout Tournament on Saturday morning as they returned to action. Eight different Jumbos recorded a field goal in the contest.
|DeCandido scored a team-high 18 points in Saturday's victory|
The Jumbos' junior co-captain forward Erica DeCandido opened the contest with a steal and dished it over to sophomore forward Emily Briggs for a layup. Suffolk's opening basket came off a jumper from sophomore guard Gabriella DeComo to even the score. Tufts would then go on a 4-0 run after getting layups from senior co-captain guard Jac Knapp and first-year guard Molly Ryan to push the lead to four. The Rams' senior guard Marissa Gudauskas sparked a 5-0 spurt that gave them a 7-6 lead with 6:37 left in the quarter. The brown and blue's defense was stellar over the final 6:37 of the first as they didn't allow a point and scored the final seven points led by junior guard Sadie Otley's four points as they were up 13-7 after the first quarter.
Tufts scored the first eight points of the second quarter as DeCandido, Briggs and junior guard Cailin Harrington recorded buckets. Suffolk's season-leading scorer Jenni-Rose DiCecco ended the Jumbo run by scoring the next three points. In the middle of the quarter, Briggs and Rams sophomore guard Rachel LaSaracina exchanged buckets as the score was now 23-12 with 5:15 remaining in the second. Over the next three minutes, the Rams scored three unanswered points off foul shots to reduce the Jumbo lead to eight. Briggs and DeComo each scored again before the end of the half as Tufts took a 26-17 lead into the locker room.
In the first half, both offenses struggled to get a rhythm as the Jumbos shot 28.9 percent while holding Suffolk to 23.1 percent from the floor. Tufts grabbed 28 rebounds to the Rams' 20. The Jumbos dished out four first-half assists to Suffolk's three. The brown and blue were active on defense as they forced nine turnovers in the first 20 minutes of action.
DeCandido buried a jumper for the first points of the second half. DiCecco and DeCandido collectively scored the first nine points of the third over a four-minute span. Tufts' offense found their rhythm halfway through the third quarter as they netted 14 straight points. Over that span, the Jumbos got baskets from Briggs, DeCandido, Ryan, Harrington, Knapp and sophomore guard Lily Bolen. Harrington connected on a three-pointer with five seconds remaining in the quarter to give the Jumbos a 48-22 lead after three. The brown and blue held the Rams to five points with their lockdown defense in the third.
Lasaracina netted five of the fourth quarter's first seven points as Otley also buried a pair of free throws. The Rams used a 7-0 run to cut the Jumbos' lead to 18 with 6:12 remaining in the contest. DeCandido ended Suffolk's stretch with a three-pointer. Ryan and Knapp also connected on threes over a minute span as the Jumbos heated up from the three-point line. Tufts junior guard Lily Paro scored the game's final basket with a trey of her own as the Jumbos outscored the Rams 18-12 in the fourth to win 66-34.
For the game, Tufts shot 27-73 and Suffolk was 13-53 from the field. The brown and blue dominated the boards as they pulled down 54 rebounds while the Rams pulled down 28. The Jumbos distributed the ball at a high rate as the recorded assists on 14 of their 27 field goals. Both defenses were opportunistic as there were a combined 19 turnovers. Both teams recorded eight blocks. This is the seventh time the Jumbos have held an opponent under 45 points through their first 10 games.
DeCandido netted a team-high 18 points as she shot an efficient 8-14 from the field and also dished out a team-leading four helpers. Briggs also scored in double figures with 12 points. Ryan and Knapp combined for 17 points as they scored nine and eight respectively. The Jumbos also got seven points apiece from Harrington and Otley. Otley was active on the boards as she pulled down 10 rebounds.
DiCecco played all 40 minutes in the game and was the team's leading scorer with 11 points. Lasaracina and DeComo scored eight and nine points respectively for the Rams. Suffolk had six different players score at least a point. Guard Alexis Hackett grabbed 10 rebounds for the Rams to lead the team.
Tufts will next play on Sunday at 11 am in Naples when they face Rowan. Suffolk will play on Sunday afternoon at 1 pm against St. Mary's (Md.).
Written By Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello