Five Jumbos Score in Double Digits as Women's Basketball Tops Colby 79-62 in NESCAC Opener

MEDFORD - No. 4 Tufts Women's Basketball (12-0, 1-0 NESCAC) opened conference play on Friday night with a 79-62 victory against Colby College (5-6, 0-1 NESCAC) at Cousens Gymnasium. Five Jumbo players scored in double figures on the night.

Sofia Rosa scored 14 points in her first career NESCAC contest

Tufts sophomore forward Emily Briggs scored the game's first basket off a layup to start a 7-0 Jumbo run over the first two minutes of the contest. Senior co-captain guard Jac Knapp also hit a three-pointer and junior forward Erica DeCandido connected on a contested layup. Colby's season-leading scorer junior guard Ainsley Burns ended the brown and blue's early run with a three. DeCandido and Colby first-year guard Keagan Dunbar traded threes over a 30-second span to cut the Jumbo lead to two. The Mules' senior guard Sarah Hancock and Briggs scored on back-to-back possessions as the pace continued to pick up in the game. Tufts first-year forward Sofia Rosa went on a 4-0 run of her own converting a pair of free throws and a jump shot with 3:59 left in the first. Colby's junior center Jane MacKerron hit a jumper to answer Rosa's run. Over the final two minutes of the first quarter, the Jumbos' first-year guard Molly Ryan hit a three from Knapp and a layup slashing through the lane to give Tufts a 27-16 lead.

The Mules' senior guard Katie McCrum netted the first points of the second quarter with a contested layup. A jump shot from Colby senior guard Jackie Albanese cut the Tufts lead to seven points. DeCandido and Ryan scored on consecutive possessions to end the Mules' spurt. Ryan then scored three of the game's next five points including an "and one" layup off a drive to the hoop. Over the next two minutes, the Mules scored six unanswered points led by a Dunbar three with 4:24 remaining in the second. Rosa scored four of the following six points off a jump shot and a layup for Tufts. Albanese heated up with a pair of three-pointers and Knapp made a foul shot at the end of the quarter to give the Jumbos a 41-34 edge going into the locker room.

In the first half, Colby shot 51.9 percent from the floor to the Jumbos' 48.4 percent. The brown and blue grabbed 18 rebounds to the Mules' 16. The Jumbos dished out nine assists to Colby's five. Tufts' defense was opportunistic as they forced 11 turnovers. Both benches combined for 23 points.

Burns came out of the locker room shooting as she converted an "and-one" off a jump shot. Albanese came down the next possession and connected on a three-pointer to cut the Jumbo lead down to two points. Over the next five minutes, the Jumbos went on a 13-0 run led by DeCandido who scored eight points. Knapp, Rosa and Ryan accounted for the other five points on the run as the Jumbos now had a 15-point edge. The Mules came right back with an 11-0 spurt of their own over the next two minutes in which junior guard Paige Russell netted seven points. First-year guard Carly Christofori hit a three and sophomore forward Grace Coutu connected on a free throw during the run to make it only a four-point Tufts lead. Tufts senior forward Katie Martensen hit a pair of jump shots from DeCandido and Knapp in the final minute of the third to give the Jumbos a 59-53 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Ryan opened the fourth quarter with her second three of the game. Russell picked up where she left off in the third and connected on a three-pointer a minute after Ryan's. The action continued to be back and forth after Briggs and Dunbar exchanged layups. The Jumbos would then go on a 7-0 run with a layup from Rosa, a pair of free throws from Ryan, and a three from Knapp to push the lead up to 13 points with 5:04 remaining. Dunbar converted a layup on one end, but Knapp did a nice job of passing the ball up the floor to Rosa for a layup of her own at the other. Briggs connected on another layup and Knapp hit three free throws in a minute-span to give the brown and blue an 18 point lead with 2:25 remaining. Over the final 4:46 of action, the Jumbos defense clamped down and only allowed two points as the hosts would proceed to win 79-62.

For the game, the Jumbos shot 28-58 and the Mules were 22-56 from the floor. Colby connected on eight three-pointers. The brown and blue pulled down 40 boards while the Mules tallied 36 rebounds. Tufts played unselfishly all night as they have all season with 16 assists. Both defenses forced turnovers as there were a combined 33 in tonight's contest. The benches combined for 54 points. Tufts pounded the ball on the inside with 38 points in the paint.

DeCandido led Tufts with 18 points as she shot 7-12 from the field and connected on three free throws. Ryan and Rosa made their NESCAC debuts tonight, scoring 16 and 14 points respectively. Knapp was everywhere on the floor tonight with 14 points, a team-high seven assists and six rebounds. Briggs scored 10 points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Martensen, junior guard Lilly Paro and sophomore guard Erin Poindexter-McHan also scored for the Jumbos.

Dunbar had a team-high 14 points for the Mules and grabbed six rebounds. Albanese and Russell were also in double-figures with 11 and 10 points respectively. Hancock had a team-high four assists on the night. MacKerron was active on the boards with 10 rebounds while also chipping in five points. Burns also scored eight points and pulled down three rebounds. Nine different Mules scored in the contest.

Tufts will play again tomorrow in a match-up of top five teams in the country when they host No. 1 Bowdoin College at 3 pm. Colby will travel to Bates tomorrow for a conference match at 3pm.

 

Written By Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello