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Women’s Basketball | NESCAC tournament roars on with Jumbos left waiting

Published: Friday, February 22, 2013

Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 09:02

The NESCAC tournament will continue on without the No. 1 seed Tufts Jumbos this weekend, with the semifinals and finals taking place in LeFrak Gymnasium at Amherst College on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The No. 2 seed Lord Jeffs were given hosting rights after the No. 8 seed Bowdoin Polar Bears beat Tufts in a shocking upset.

Amherst, the winners of three consecutive NESCAC tournament crowns, boast an 80−game home winning streak, and will take on Bowdoin on Saturday. The Lord Jeffs will have to do a better job stopping the three−point shot than the Jumbos, who allowed the Polar Bears to shoot 11−of−19 from beyond the arc last weekend. Meanwhile, Bowdoin will try to deal with defending NESCAC Player of the Week Megan Robertson in the post. Robertson, just a sophomore, had 22 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in the Lord Jeffs’ quarterfinal victory.

On the other side of the bracket, the red−hot Williams Ephs are likely confident in their chances against a Middlebury Panthers side they beat by 26 points less than a month ago. Though Williams stumbled through January, they have been on a tear since, winning all five games, including a stunning 20−point victory over Amherst and a 29−point win over Wesleyan in the quarterfinals. If Middlebury hopes to pull off the upset, they will likely have to lean heavily on senior guard Tracy Borsinger, the NESCAC’s leading scorer. She managed 14 points against the Ephs in the team’s first matchup, but needed 13 field goal attempts and six free throws to do so. She’ll have to be more efficient on Saturday.

If seeds hold in the semifinals, expect a thrilling final between Williams and Amherst, a pair of teams that have matched up twice already this season. Each squad won its home leg — with the Lord Jeffs winning a non−conference game by six and the Ephs responding with a blowout in a NESCAC game — so Amherst has to be given a slight edge in the rubber match. But the home team will need to do a better job on Williams’ senior forward Claire Baecher, who had 30 points and eight rebounds in her team’s win two weeks ago.

The Jumbos, meanwhile, will spend the weekend in limbo. Boasting a 23−2 record and retaining their No. 2 spot in the regional rankings behind the Lord Jeffs, a spot in the NCAA tournament is all but guaranteed. But whether they will host the first two rounds and how difficult their road will be won’t be decided until the selection show on Monday at 2:30 pm.

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