|Melissa Baptista led the Jumbos with 23 points on Saturday evening|
Recap courtesy of Scranton Sports Information
SCRANTON, PA. - Forward Melissa Baptista poured in a game high 23 points to lead the way, as Tufts held off a comeback attempt by the University of Scranton in the fourth quarter to collect a hard fought 57-48 victory in the Quarterfinals of the 2016 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament on Saturday in the John Long Center.
With the victory, the Jumbos (now 27-3 on the year) advance to their third consecutive Final Four, which will be played next Saturday in Columbus, Ohio on the campus of Capital University. Scranton ends the season with a 30-1 record with the defeat.
"It was a really fun game for me to be a part of and coach," said Tufts head coach Carla Berube after the win. "Scranton brought it. When they tied the game up in the second half, I knew our team was going to have to dig deep and find ways to get stops and keep composed, and we were able to do that.
"I'm really proud of my team and I'm really proud that we're heading back to the Final Four."
In the opening quarter of the ballgame, Tufts used tough defense and opportunistic offense to leap out to a 15-5 lead after one. The trend continued in the second quarter, as a late 6-0 run by the Jumbos gave them their biggest lead of the contest at 30-14.
Scranton did make the final shot of the half on a banked in three at the buzzer, as the Jumbos went into intermission up by 13 points at 30-17.
After quickly taking a 14-point lead on Scranton at the 7:50 mark (34-20), the Lady Royals slowly began to chip away at the lead, as a 15-4 rally over the next five and a half minutes chopped the Jumbos' lead down all the way to three points at 38-35.
But, Tufts ended the third quarter strong, scoring the final five points to take a 43-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
To begin the final period, Tufts quickly went back up 10 on two-pointer at 45-35, but Scranton attacked back, going on a infatic 10-0 run over the next three minutes to tie the game up at 45-all with 6:53 remaining in regulation, the first time the game was tied since early in the first quarter..
Here, the Jumbos dug deep to go on a run that eventually put Scranton away for the night. With the score tied, Baptista was fouled on a successful lay-in, giving Tufts the lead back at 47-45. Baptista, however, missed the ensuing free throw, but was able to get the offensive rebound to keep possession.
On that possession, Josie Lee nailed a huge three-pointer that gave the Jumbos a 50-45 lead with 5:32 left. The shot deflated Scranton, as the Jumbos scored five more points in a row to cap off a 10-0 and take an insurmountable 55-45 lead with three minutes left.
The deficit was too much for the Lady Royals to come back from, as Tufts coasted down the stretch to notch the nine-point win and move into the Final Four yet again.
Overall, Baptista was exemplary all night, going 8-of-12 from the floor and a perfect 5-of-5 from three-point range. Elsewhere, forward Michaela North posted another double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds and Emma Roberson rounded out the top scorers for the Jumbos with 10 points.
Scranton was led in the defeat by forward Alexix Roman, who had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.