WELLESLEY, Mass. – Junior forward Melissa Baptista tallied a season-high 23 points for the No. 1 Tufts University women's basketball team in a 60-46 victory over Babson on Tuesday evening, as the Jumbos took complete control of the game with a 17-2 spurt during a five-minute, 14-second span at the end of the second and beginning of third quarter in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
|Melissa Baptista scored 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field.|
The Jumbos (16-0, 4-0 in NESCAC) feasted all night on points off turnovers, as the squad forced the Beavers (14-3, 8-0 in NEWMAC) into 30 turnovers, scoring 31 points off those takeaways. Baptista continues to be an efficient go-to player, as she shot 9-for-14 from the field, 3-for-7 from 3-point range and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. The Somerville, Massachusetts, native also showcased her defensive instincts, leading all players in steals (five) and blocks (four).
Senior forward Katy Hicks played a pivotal role for the Jumbos, by scoring a season-high 10 points off the bench on 4-for-7 shooting from the field and a 2-for-5 performance on the three-ball. The Beavers were led by strong performances from senior captains and guards Taylor Russell (15 points, nine rebounds) and Giovanna Pickering (15 points, eight rebounds). Senior forward Jennifer Narlee posted a game-high 12 rebounds for the hosts, along with seven points and a team-high three steals.
The Beavers kept the score close early, as a layup off a post move by Narlee evened the score, 17-17, with 5:16 left in the half. The Jumbos take a great deal of pride in finishing quarters strongly, and they did it again on Tuesday, finishing the second on a 13-2 run.
Senior captain and guard Josie Lee started the run, by burying a trey from the right baseline off a great extra pass by junior captain and guard Lauren Dillon. The spurt concluded with a 3-pointer by Hicks from the left of the arc, assisted by Dillon, with six seconds remaining in the first half, giving the visitors a 30-19 advantage heading into intermission.
|Katy Hicks scored five of her 10 points in the first quarter.|
The Beavers trimmed the Jumbos' advantage to 34-24 on a 3-point shot by Russell from the right baseline with 6:22 left in the third. Senior captain Michela North, who scored seven points in the third, responded with a layup off a great entry pass by Lee, which sailed right over the top of the defender that was fronting North in the post. The Jumbos took a 44-32 advantage into the fourth quarter, as Pickering scored six points in the third for the Beavers and Baptista tallied five for the Jumbos.
The Jumbos put the game completely out of reach with a 16-5 run in the opening 6:26 of the fourth, as a jumper by freshman guard/forward Erica DeCandido with 3:36 left resulted in the Jumbos' largest lead of the game at 60-37.
The Jumbos' shot 42.1 percent from the field (24-for-57), 33.3 percent from the 3-point line (7-for-21) and 71.4 percent from the foul line (5-for-7), while the Beavers' went 15-for-48 from the field (31.3 percent), 2-for-8 from downtown (25 percent) and 14-for-20 from the charity stripe (70 percent). The hosts held a commanding 47-22 advantage on the glass, while the visitors held a 26-20 advantage in points in the paint and a 19-6 advantage in bench points.
The Jumbos will travel to Middletown, Connecticut, on Friday for a 7 p.m. tilt against NESCAC Conference-foe Wesleyan.