WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Senior captain Michela North and junior forward Melissa Baptista combined for 31 points and 15 rebounds for the No. 1 Tufts University women's basketball team on Monday evening, as the Jumbos utilized a 21-8 advantage in the second quarter to defeat host Eastern Connecticut State, 57-49.
|Michela North compiled a 17-point, nine-rebound performance on Monday.|
North led the way with a game-high 17 points for the undefeated Jumbos (10-0), as she went an efficient 8-for-12 from the field and corralled nine boards. Baptista filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, six rebounds and a game-high five steals. Junior captain and point guard Lauren Dillon dished out a season-high seven assists, to go along with five points and four rebounds.
The Warriors' (5-4) starting unit scored 39 of the team's 49 points, as sophomore forward Kelsey Santagata (10 points, four rebounds), senior center Lexis Foster (eight points, six rebounds, game-high four blocks), senior guard Julia DePoi (seven points, nine rebounds), senior guard Jordyn Nappi (nine points) and junior guard Kelly Reardon (five points) all made sizable contributions.
The Warriors appeared motivated early on to ruin the Jumbos' perfect season, with a layup by Reardon giving the visitors a 6-0 advantage 3:05 into the game. The Jumbos' stared at a 10-3 deficit with 4:45 left in the opening quarter, as Nappi converted a layup for the hosts.
Dillon responded by burying a 3-point shot with 4:30 left, and then the Wellesley, Massachusetts, native penetrated into the paint, converting a layup with 3:03 left, which evened the score, 10-10. Freshman guard Sabrina LeMere scored with 13 seconds remaining in the first, giving the hosts a 12-10 lead heading into the second frame.
A layup by senior captain and guard Josie Lee gave the Jumbos a 17-12 advantage with 7:38 left in the half, as the visitors' tallied the first seven points of the second quarter. A layup by North with 5:01 left allowed the Jumbos to open up a double-digit advantage, 26-16, as the visitors went into intermission with a 31-20 advantage.
The hosts' trimmed the Jumbos' advantage to seven points on two occasions during the first half of the third quarter, but the Jumbos' won the frame, 16-13, and took a commanding 47-33 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Warriors' battled to the final whistle, outscoring the visitors, 16-10, in the final frame. The Jumbos' built a 17-point lead, 52-35, with 8:02 left on a made foul shot by junior guard Jennie Mucciarone. The hosts ended the game on a 14-5 spurt, and a 3-pointer by Nappi with 1:14 remaining trimmed the visitors' advantage to eight points.
The Jumbos will open up their NESCAC Conference schedule on Friday, as the squad will welcome Bowdoin to Cousens Gym for a 7 p.m. tilt.