Women' Basketball | Senior Night win and lucky draw propel Jumbos to No. 1 seed
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 22:02
It was an energy-charged atmosphere at Cousens Gymnasium for the women’s basketball’s final regular season home game and Senior Night. But after honoring seniors Bre Dufault and Maggie Riddle, both teams came out flat, resulting in an ugly game that Tufts took, 57-37, a result that doesn’t reflect the performance.
“I thought I might have been a little bit more emotional, but I knew the importance of the game and I think that hindered that aspect of it,” Dufault said. “It’s a really special day, and I think it’ll hit me as soon as we stop, but for now we’re still going.”
It was a difficult night for the Jumbos, both on and off the court. Graduate forward Kate Barnosky was out of the starting lineup for the first time all season, and finished with just 22 minutes played, her least in a game since early January. Sophomore starting point guard Kelsey Morehead took warmups with the team, but never entered the game, while junior Caitlin McClure came out with street clothes and crutches and never left the bench.
“It’s the end of the season, people are a little banged up,” Dufault said. “But it gives people a chance to step up.”
The result was one of the sloppiest halves the Jumbos have played this season. Tufts went into the locker rooms with nine turnovers, and ended the half by making just six of their final 20 field goals. But the defense was as strong as ever, holding Hamilton to just 15 points and earning the team an eight-point lead at the break.
“We came out a little slow, a little soft. We just didn’t execute our offenses as well as we’re used to,” Dufault said.
Things didn’t get any better for much of the second half, and a pair of free throws made it a six-point game with just four minutes to go. But the Jumbos refused to let the Continentals get any closer, ending the game on a 14-0 run while forcing turnovers on four straight Hamilton possessions. Junior Liz Moynihan provided the dagger, knocking down a three pointer, getting a steal on the other end and hitting another.
With the win, Tufts closes out the season 23-1 overall, with a 9-1 NESCAC record, both program records. The team is in a three-way tie with No. 6 Amherst and No. 19 Williams at the top of the conference, which was broken last night by a random draw, giving Tufts the top spot. Provided the Jumbos can win out, the team will host the semifinals and finals as well. Tufts will also avoid Amherst and Williams until the final round.
The Jumbos take on the Bowdoin Polar Bears on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in the conference quarterfinals. Check out tomorrow’s Daily for a full preview.