Women's Basketball Ends NCAA Tournament Run with Quarterfinal Loss to Bowdoin

MEDFORD, Mass. – The Tufts University women's basketball team's season came to an end in the NCAA Elite Eight in a 66-48 loss to Bowdoin College Saturday night at the University of Scranton.

Baptista finishes her career with 1,337 points, good for third all-time among Jumbos.

The Jumbos (26-5) had their streak of four consecutive Final Four appearances snapped by the Polar Bears (28-2) who shot 40.7 percent from the field and 81.0 percent from the free throw line.

Melissa Baptista tied for a game-high 18 points and had six rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Jac Knapp had 12 points, four rebounds, and four steals. Erica DeCandido finished with 11 points, four rebounds, and a steal. Taylor Choate had 18 for the Polar Bears. Kate Kerrigan had 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals and Maddie Hasson finished with 10 points and four rebounds.

These teams are no strangers to each other having already faced off twice this year. Back in January when Tufts traveled to Bowdoin, the Polar Bears got the 66-53 win. The Jumbos were in foul trouble all game with four of their five starters with at least four fouls and two fouling out. Bowdoin also held the edge in rebounding, 49-36. Then in the NESCAC tournament semifinals they matched up again, this time with Tufts claiming the 60-48 victory. In this second game the Jumbos were able to stay out of serious foul trouble and outrebounded the Polar Bears by 13, the same margin that Bowdoin had in the first game.

Tufts struggled offensively in the first quarter as the Polar Bears got out to a 10-3 lead half way through the frame. The Jumbos only scored eight in the quarter and seven of those points belonged to Baptista. The rest of the team was a combined 0-for-6 from the floor in the frame. The second quarter would start with Tufts down 12, 20-8.

The Polar Bears would stretch their lead to 19 with four minutes remaining in the half after a Hannah Graham layup. That is when the Jumbos started to climb back. They went on a 9-0 run starting when DeCandido sunk a layup on the next possession and then Knapp hit four straight free throws. Baptista then hit a three-pointer and she ended the half with a layup to go into the locker room down 33-23.

Tufts was able to cut the lead to six multiple times in the third quarter. The first two came from buckets by Baptista and the third was after a layup from DeCandido that brought the score to 37-31 in favor of Bowdoin. But that is where the comeback would stall. The Polar Bears went on a 20-2 run that would last until there was just five minutes remaining in the game and at that point the Jumbos were in too deep of a hole.

All four of Tufts' seniors, Baptista, Lauren Dillon, Jennie Mucciarone, and Gina Doyle, got well-deserved ovations from the crowd as the clock ran down in the final moments of the fourth quarter.

Baptista will finish her career at third all-time on the program's list of scorers as well as fifth on the all-time rebound list. Dillon wraps up four seasons as a starter as well as with her name at the top of both the all-time assist and steal list in program history.

Bowdoin will face the winner of Wartburg and East Texas Baptist in the tournament semifinals next weekend.


Written by Curtis Stoychoff, Athletic Communications Intern