(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich..) – The top-ranked Thomas More College women's basketball team defeated fifth-ranked Tufts University, 62-52, tonight (Friday, March 20, 2015) in the national semifinal game of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship hosted by Calvin College at the Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
With the win, the Saints improve to a school-record 32-0 and advance to play either third-ranked George Fox University or seventh-ranked Montclair State University in the national championship game tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. With the loss, the Jumbos fall to 30-2 and play in the consolation game tomorrow night.
Tufts jumped out to an early 6-2 lead when Lauren Dillon made two free-throws with 15:28 to play in the first half. Thomas More answered with an 8-0 run capped by a lay-up by junior guard/forward Sydney Moss (St. Albans, W.Va./Boone County (Ky.)) to take a 10-6 lead with 13:12 to play in the half. The Jumbos used a 15-8 run to take a 21-18 lead when Kelsey Morehead made a lay-up with 5:06 to play in the opening half. Thomas More closed out the half on an 11-0 run to take a 29-21 lead at halftime when Moss made a three-point play with 1:05 to play in the half.
Thomas More opened the second half on a 15-6 lead to take its biggest lead of the game at 44-27 when Moss made a jumper with 10:20 to play in the game. The Jumbos answered with a 23-12 run to cut the lead to 56-50 with 45-seconds to play in the game when Mosehead made two free-throws. That would be as close as Tufts would come as Thomas More closed out the game on a 6-2 run to win the game 62-52 and advance to the championship game when it will play for the first-ever team national championship in school history.
Moss led all scorers with 23 points and increased her tournament total to 178 points and broke the NCAA All-Division Tournament record of 177, which was held by Sheryl Swoopes. She recorded her third double-double in the tournament as she had 11 rebounds. Freshman guard Abby Owings (Independence, Ky./Simon Kenton) joined Moss in double-figures with 12 points. Moss, senior guard Sydni Wainscott (Erlanger, Ky./Simon Kenton) and junior guard Olivia Huber (Woodlawn, Ky./Newport Central Catholic) all had three assists to lead the Saints, while Moss led the team in steals with three.