MEDFORD, Mass. – Junior forward Melissa Baptista dropped a game-high 21 points and senior captain Michela North posted 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds, as the No. 3 Tufts University women's basketball team defeated Rhode Island College, 74-27, on Monday night at Cousens Gym in Medford, Massachusetts.
|Jacqueline Knapp went 4-for-5 from the floor, scoring 11 points.|
The Jumbos' (23-1, 9-1 in NESCAC) held the Anchorwomen (5-18, 2-10 in LEC) to eight or less points in every quarter, en route to equaling a season low in points allowed, while Baptista and North provided an offensive spark, going a combined 14-for-20 from the floor.
Sophomore guard Jacqueline Knapp also reached double figures with 11 points, going 4-for-5 from the floor, while junior captain and point guard Lauren Dillon recorded a season-high eight assists, to go along with a handful of steals. Senior captain and guard Josie Lee shot 4-for-8 from the field, totaling nine points, six rebounds, three steals and two dimes.
The Anchorwomen were led by a 10-point effort by sophomore forward Molly Phillips.
The Jumbos' opened the game playing a high-intensity brand of defense and knocking down shots at a high rate, en route to shooting 54.8 percent from the floor (17-for-31) in the first half. The Jumbos only allowed five field goals in the first half, as the Anchorwomen shot 27.8 percent from the floor (5-for-18) in the opening 20 minutes.
The Jumbos' scored the first 10 points of the contest, as Baptista, who went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, scored in the paint, giving the hosts a 10-0 advantage with only 2:24 off the clock in the first. The Jumbos did not show any complacency, but instead attacked every loose ball and generated numerous second-chance opportunities. Knapp buried a mid-range jumper with 2:24 left, giving the Jumbos a 22-3 cushion, as Dillon set up the play with an offensive rebound in traffic.
A layup by Phillips, assisted by freshman forward Ornela Livramento, trimmed the Jumbos' advantage to 24-7 with 32 seconds remaining in the first. North, who went 7-for-11 from the floor and recorded two blocks, converted a layup in the post with 3:53 remaining in the first half, giving the Jumbos a 24-point advantage at 39-15. Lee then showed her versatility down the stretch of the half, stealing the ball, and then going all the way in for a layup with 27 seconds on the clock, sending the hosts into intermission with a 41-15 lead.
The Jumbos did not allow the visitors to gain any momentum in the second half, as Knapp and Baptista tallied five points apiece in the third, as the Jumbos won the frame, 17-5, and took a 58-20 lead into the fourth.
The Jumbos' bench played a crucial role in the game, as freshman guard/forward Erica DeCandido totaled six points and five boards in 15 minutes of action and freshman guard Cailin Harrington scored all five of her points in the fourth, as the Jumbos' held a 16-7 advantage on the scoreboard in the final frame.
Next on the radar for the Jumbos will be postseason basketball, as the squad will host Williams College in the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC Tournament on Saturday (4 p.m.) at Cousens Gym in Medford, Massachusetts.