MEDFORD – The Tufts University women's basketball team will travel to the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania for the sectional round of the 2019 NCAA Division III Championship this weekend (Mar. 8-9).
Head coach Carla Berube's Jumbos will play Messiah College in the "Sweet 16" on Friday night at 5 pm. The host Lady Royals and Christopher Newport University will meet in the other "Sweet 16" game at Scranton on Friday night at 7 pm. The winners will play in the "Elite 8" on Saturday at 6 pm with a berth into the "Final Four" on the line.
Fans planning on making the trip to Scranton's Long Center are reminded that tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for students & children (ages 2 & up) and seniors over the age of 61. Children under the age of two will be admitted at no charge. Door will open at 3:45 p.m. at the Long Center on Friday and 4:45 on Saturday. Also, fans can purchase tickets on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Long Center lobby. This will be a cash only sale.
All three NCAA Scranton Sectional games will be webcast at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/scranton/.
The Jumbos (27-2), the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NECSAC) champions for the third time this year, hosted and won a Regional at Cousens Gym this weekend. Tufts defeated Western New England 70-44 in the first round and then held off Haverford 52-46 in the second round. The Jumbos are in the "Sweet 16" for the eighth straight season and ninth time overall.
Messiah (28-1) is the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Commonwealh Tournament champion. The Falcons took care of Hilbert (71-60) and Baldwin Wallace (64-51) in an NCAA Regional they hosted over the weekend. Messiah lost its season-opener to York and has won 28 in a row since.
Host Scranton (27-2) won the Landmark Conference championship. In the NCAA Regional they hosted, the Lady Royals defeated New England College 69-49 in the opening round and Johns Hopkins 59-46 in the round of 32.
The Captains of Christopher Newport University (25-5) are the Capital Athletic Conference champions. They travelled to Gettysburg and won a Regional with an 82-78 final against the hosts and then a 79-52 win against Mount Saint Mary (N.Y.).
Though Tufts had hoped to host the Sectional, they are no stranger to Scranton. Nor Messiah, for that matter. The Jumbos played in the NCAA Sectionals at Scranton last season, and had a 70-39 win over Messiah in the "Sweet 16." In 2017, the Jumbos defeated Scranton 65-48 in the "Sweet 16" at WashU in St. Louis. Tufts also defeated host Scranton 57-48 in the 2016 quarterfinals to go to the "Final Four." In 2008, during the Jumbos' first-ever NCAA appearance, they played at Messiah in the sectional round and lost 55-49 to the Falcons in the "Elite 8."
The Jumbos are in their 11th NCAA Tournament and eighth in a row. They had an outstanding 32-12 record for a .727 winning percentage in NCAA play. Tufts actually has the fewest NCAA appearances among the four teams this weekend (NESCAC teams were not eligible for NCAA's until 1993-94 due to conference rules). Host Scranton leads the pack 32 NCAA berths and a 64-34 record in those games. CNU is making its 20th NCAA appearance (27-20) and Messiah is in its 19th (28-18).
This weekend Tufts will be looking to advance to their fifth "Final Four." Christopher Newport is bidding for its third "Final Four," Messiah also seeks its third and Scranton its ninth. The host Lady Royals are the only team at the Sectional this weekend who has won a national title (1985).