MEDFORD – Tufts Women's Basketball had four players in double-figures as they opened the 2019 NCAA Tournament with a 70-44 win over Western New England on Friday night in a first round game at Cousens Gymnasium.
Following the win, Tufts improves to 26-2 overall and records the 31st NCAA Tournament victory in program history. Western New England ends their season with a 20-9 record. Tufts will play again tomorrow in the NCAA Tournament second round against Haverford (22-6), with a 5 p.m. in Cousens Gymnasium. Haverford defeated Rosemont 80-37 in the other NCAA Tournament first round game at Cousens tonight.
Trailing 36-27 out of halftime, Western New England scored five of the first seven points of the third quarter led by an and-one layup from junior Meghan Orbann to close within 38-32. Tufts junior co-captain Erica DeCandido and Golden Bear junior Courtney Carlson also connected on baskets during that stretch. Then the Jumbos showed why they are one of the top teams in the country as over the next three minutes they went on a 10-1 run led by six points from DeCandido to push the lead to 15 points (48-33). Tufts senior co-captain Jac Knapp and sophomore Emily Briggs also hit jumpers during the run. The Golden Bears' only field goal over the final 3:27 of the third came on a Carlson jumper while the Jumbos scored 12 points over that stretch. A jump shot from DeCandido sparked the run and the Jumbos also got threes from first-years Janette Wadolowski and Molly Ryan, and a layup from Knapp to take a 60-36 lead at the end of the third. The Jumbos outscored the Golden Bears 24-9 in the third and held them to only 30 percent shooting (3/10) from the floor.
Orbann had opened the game with the first points off a layup as the Golden Bears pushed the ball up the floor. The Jumbo defense took over after the Orbann layup as they held the Golden Bears scoreless for the next four minutes. During that stretch, the Jumbos' offense netted 15 points led by five points, including a deep range three-pointer, from senior co-captain Jac Knapp. Ryan, Wadolowski, DeCandido, and Briggs all scored during the Jumbos' 15-0 run. A layup from Western New England senior Meghan Gilhool ended the Golden Bear drought, but then the Jumbos went on a 7-2 run in which Wadolowski connected on a pair of crafty layups and Knapp converted an and-one layup. Western New England ended the quarter by scoring six of the final 10 points led by two more layups from Orbann, but trailed 23-10.
The Golden Bear offense came alive to open the second quarter as they went on a 10-2 run in which they got six points from junior Sydney Fisher and four from Gilhool. The Jumbos' lone basket during that run was on a nice up-and-under move by Briggs. A layup from Western New England junior Emily Farrell got them as close as five (27-22) before the Jumbos scored six of the next eight points off a free throw from DeCandido, a jumper from Wadolowski, and a three from Knapp to push the lead up to nine. Defensive pressure and intensity dominated the rest of the second as there were six points scored in the final four minutes. Ryan and Farrell traded baskets and the Jumbos took a 36-27 lead into the locker room.
Tufts then had the two big runs in the third quarter to push their lead to 60-36 heading into the fourth. In the third, the Jumbos shot 60 percent from the floor (9/15) and DeCandido netted 10 of her 13 points in the frame. The brown and blue outscored Western New England 10-8 in the fourth. Orbann had a team-high three points in the fourth. Tufts junior Cailin Harrington connected on four free throws in the final frame.
For the game, the Jumbos shot 26-55 and the Golden Bears were 15-46 from the floor. Tufts grabbed 37 rebounds to Western New England's 28. The Jumbos moved the ball well all game as they finished with 18 assists and the Golden Bears recorded nine helpers.
Wadoloswki netted a team-high 18 points and was an efficient 7-7 from the field. Knapp also shot the ball at a high rate as she was 6-8 from the floor, which was good for 16 points. DeCandido had a solid all-around game as she recorded a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Briggs was also in double-digits with 10 points and dished out two assists. Ryan and Harrington combined to score 11 points. Junior Sadie Otley distributed a team-high four helpers. The Jumbos had seven players score in the game.
Orbann was the lone Golden Bear in double-figures with 12 points and she grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Gilhool recorded nine points and made a game-high five foul shots. Farrell and Fisher each scored eight points respectively. Seven Golden Bears scored in the contest.
The Jumbos now have a 3-0 record against the Golden Bears dating back to 1999.