MEDFORD - In a match-up of top five teams in the country, No. 4 Tufts women's basketball (12-1, 1-1 NESCAC) fell to No. 1 Bowdoin (12-0, 2-0 NESCAC) 82-63 on Saturday afternoon at Cousens Gymnasium.
|DeCandido scored a team-high 20 points in Saturday's game|
Tufts led by six early in the third quarter (38-32) before Bowdoin turned it around with a 14-point swing to lead by eight (56-48) at the end of three. A huge three by Bowdoin freshman Sela Kay closed the quarter. The Polar Bears then pulled away impressively in the fourth out-scoring Tufts 26-15 in the final 10 minutes.
The Jumbos' junior guard Cailin Harrington scored the contest's first points on a layup off a pass from senior co-captain guard Jac Knapp. Then over the next two minutes, the Polar Bears went on a 6-0 run in which junior forward Maddie Hasson connected on a jump shot and a layup. Tufts came right back with a 6-0 spurt of their own led by junior co-captain forward Erica DeCandido's pair of jumpers and a layup from sophomore forward Emily Briggs. Hasson and senior guard Abby Kelly scored the next four points to give the Polar Bears a two-point lead in a back-and-forth affair with 4:12 left in the opening frame. Tufts first-year guard Molly Ryan got on the board with a pair of free throws that were matched by Bowdoin senior guard Taylor Choate. Ryan connected on a three-pointer for the final three points of the first quarter as the Jumbos took a 15-14 lead after one.
Hasson made a layup to open the second quarter as the Polar Bears regained the lead. Bowdoin then scored five of the next seven points off a three-pointer from Kelly and a jump shot from junior guard Samantha Roy. Harrington made a nice move to get to the basket and put in a layup to cut the Polar Bear lead to three. Hasson continued her hot start as she scored six of the next eight points off layups, with DeCandido connected on two foul shots. Over the next minute, the Jumbos went on a 5-0 run led by more free throws from DeCandido, a Harrington jumper, and a Knapp foul shot to cut Bowdoin's lead down to two points. Within the final two minutes of the first half, both teams scored four points as the Polar Bears took a 32-30 lead into the locker room.
In the first half, Bowdoin shot 50.0 percent from the floor to Tufts' 34.4 percent. The Jumbos grabbed 22 rebounds to the Polar Bears' 14. The brown and blue tallied 10 assists to Bowdoin's five. The Jumbos' defense had active hands and provided constant pressure as they forced seven turnovers. The Polar Bears went to the paint early with 22 of their 32 first-half points coming in the post area.
Knapp converted a pair of three-pointers on the first two possessions of the third quarter off assists from Ryan and Harrington as the Jumbos retook the lead. DeCandido also got back to the foul line and made both free throws to expand Tufts' run to 8-0 over the first minute of the quarter. Roy ended the run with a layup and Kelly also hit a three for Bowdoin to make it a one-point game. Briggs connected on a layup, but Choate hit another Polar Bear three to tie things up with 6:20 left. Hasson made a pair of free throws on one possession, then Ryan and Kelly exchanged threes as the offenses started to find a rhythm. Bowdoin's junior forward Olivia Ware and Kay scored the next three points to give the visitors a five-point lead with 3:50 remaining in the third. DeCandido and Knapp combined for four of the next six points to get Tufts within two points. The Polar Bears ended the final two minutes of the third quarter strong with a 6-1 run sparked by the Kay three-pointer as they took a 56-48 lead into the fourth.
Roy connected on two free throws and Hasson made a layup as the Polar Bears scored the first four points of the fourth. DeCandido continued being aggressive and scored four of the next six points to cut the Polar Bear lead back to 10. Over the next three minutes, Bowdoin converted five foul shots while holding Tufts scoreless with tenacious defense. Briggs ended the Polar Bear run with an "and-one" layup as the Jumbos got as close as 12 points. Kay shortly after hit a three and another Hasson layup helped the Polar Bears start to pull away from the Jumbos. Briggs continued to attack and scored three points within a minute span. In the final two minutes of the game, the Polar Bears went on a 6-3 run as they outscored Tufts 26-15 in the fourth quarter to propel them to the 82-63 victory.
For the game, Tufts shot 20-58 and Bowdoin was 29-58 from the field. The Polar Bears connected on a game-high six three-pointers. Both teams shot well from the foul line as Bowdoin went 18-22 and Tufts was 19-23. The Jumbos pulled down 31 boards while Bowdoin tallied 39 rebounds. Tufts passed the ball at a high rate in the game with 15 assists and the Polar Bears dished out 11 assists. Both teams were active all day long as they forced a combined 29 turnovers.
DeCandido netted a Tufts-high 20 points, shooting 5-13 from the field and 10-10 from the foul line. Knapp and Briggs also scored in double figures with 12 and 10 points respectively. Ryan had a team-high six assists, tied a team-high in rebounds with six, and chipped in seven points. Harrington also had six points for the brown and blue. Eight Jumbos scored in the contest.
Hasson recorded a game-high 21 points on an efficient 9-11 from the floor and pulled in a team-high seven rebounds for Bowdoin. Kelly and Roy also provided sparks on offense with 17 and 15 points respectively. Kay hit a pair of threes to help her score nine points. Roy tallied a team-high five assists. The Polar Bears had 10 players score in the game.
Tufts will next be in action at 7 pm on Friday night when they travel to Williams for a NESCAC contest. Bowdoin's next game will be on Tuesday when they play non-conference opponent Husson at 7pm.
Written By Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello