MIDDLEBURY, Vt.- In a battle of ranked conference teams, the sixth-ranked Tufts women's basketball team got 22 points from senior co-captain Jac Knapp in a 74-58 win over No. 25 Middlebury. Knapp was an efficient 8-11 from the floor and constantly provided defensive pressure on Middlebury's guards.
|Knapp netted a game-high 22 points in Saturday's victory|
With the win the Jumbos improve to 14-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Middlebury now holds a record of 13-2 and are 3-1 in NESCAC action.
The Jumbos came out of the break with a three-point lead and used a strong third quarter where they outscored the Panthers 18-6 to take a 54-39 lead into the final quarter. In the third Knapp netted a pair of free throws and sophomore Emily Briggs converted a jump shot for the first four points of the quarter. Middlebury junior Maya Davis connected on a pair of foul shots with 7:13 left in the quarter, but then the Jumbos held them scoreless for five minutes scoring nine points to push the lead to 14. Junior Cailin Harrington connected on a three, a Knapp turned in a layup, junior Sadie Otley added a jumper and junior co-captain Erica DeCandido added two free throws to account for the Jumbos nine points. Middlebury juniors Lily Kuntz and Betsy Knox each connected on a pair of jumpers as the Panthers trailed 54-39 at the end of three.
The game was very close in the beginning. Knapp scored the first four points of the game off a jumper and a layup. The Panthers netted the next five with a layup from junior Kira Waldman and a Colleen Caveney three. The Jumbos then scored eight of the next 10 points with three's from Knapp and DeCandido as well as a layup from Harrington. Knapp continued her hot start by producing four of the next six points to push the Jumbos lead to seven with 2:57 left in the first. Davis hit a three and sophomore Emily Wander scored five points in the final 1:18 as Tufts led 20-16 after the first quarter.
Davis and senior Alex Huffman each converted layups for the Panthers as they tied the game at 20 early in the second quarter. Otley, first-year Molly Ryan and Briggs combined for seven of the contest's next nine points to give the Jumbos a five-point edge. Briggs converted on a layup as Tufts was up by as many as six points. Wander and Caveney scored the next five points with a three and a layup to get within as close as one. DeCandido and Briggs stepped up as they each scored within the next minute of action. Knapp and Caveney traded baskets to end the second as the brown and blue took a 36-33 lead into the locker room in a back and forth contest.
The Jumbos then came out of the locker room and turned in the strong third quarter to take a 54-39 lead into the fourth.
DeCandido opened the fourth quarter with a layup. Coveney converted on a layup with 7:13 to cut the Jumbo lead to 12, which was as close as they got. Briggs and DeCandido scored four points over the next minute to give the brown and blue a 16-point cushion. Davis did all she could for the Panthers with a three-pointer and two free throws in the middle of the fourth. But the Jumbos went on a 10-0 run and picked up the 74-58 win.
For the game, Tufts shot 27-53 and Middlebury was 20-46 from the floor. Both teams connected on five three-pointers over the course of the contest. The Jumbos got to the foul line early and often going 15-20 for the game. The brown and blue pulled down 32 boards while the Panthers tallied 24 rebounds. The Jumbos dished out 15 assists to Middlebury's 10. Tufts defense was outstanding, forcing 19 turnovers.
Knapp netted a game-high 22 points, her second highest scoring output this year. DeCandido and Briggs also scored in double figures with 18 and 12 points, respectively. Harrington also netted seven points and a team-high four assists. First-year Molly Ryan grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Seven Jumbos scored in the game.
Caveney scored a team-high 13 points. Davis and Knox also scored in double-digits with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Huffman pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. Waldman dished out a team-high three assists. Eight Middlebury players scored in the contest.
Tufts hosts Worcester State on Wednesday at 7pm. Middlebury plays again on Tuesday at 6pm when they travel to Smith.
Written By Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello