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Women's Basketball | No. 8 Bowdoin shocks No. 1 Tufts in NESCAC quarterfinals

Tufts loses heartbreaker at home

Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 01:02

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Sofia Adams / The Tufts Daily

The Bowdoin defense harassed the Jumbos into 32.8 percent shooting from the field as they pulled off the shocking upset, beating Tufts 60-54 .

The women’s basketball team’s record−setting 2012−2013 campaign came to a screeching halt on Saturday afternoon as the Bowdoin Polar Bears upset the Jumbos 60−54 in the NESCAC tournament quarterfinals. Bowdoin became just the fourth No. 8−seeded team ever to beat a No. 1 across all sports in conference history.

The Jumbos were hurt by a slow start from which they couldn’t recover. While both teams struggled to find rhythm in the opening minutes, the Polar Bears threw the first punch in the opening period, hitting six of 12 first−half 3−pointers and heading into the locker room with a 29−25 lead. Bowdoin held Tufts to a mediocre 32.4 percent shooting percentage from the field and just over nine percent from long distance in the first period.

As the second half began, it seemed that the Jumbos would find their footing, regain their composure and begin to hit the high−percentage shots that had carried them to a 23−1 regular season record.

But poor shooting hindered the Jumbos the rest of the way, and they found themselves in a deep hole after Bowdoin extended its lead to 11 points with just over 12 minutes left, 45−34. The Jumbos went on a 16−4 run over the next nine minutes, but it was not enough to avoid the upset.

Strong 3−pointer shooting carried the Polar Bears on Saturday, as Bowdoin shot almost 58 percent and scored 33 of its points from beyond the arc in the contest.

While the Jumbos knew they would get all they could handle from Bowdoin’s senior co−captain Kaitlin Donahoe, the league runner−up in scoring who averaged 15.4 points per game this season, freshman Selena Lorrey was the star of the game. Lorrey scored 11 points on 4−of−8 shooting and at times seemed unstoppable, even going against the Jumbos’ top−ranked defense.

Meanwhile, the Jumbos had three players score in the double digits, led by junior Ali Rocchi, who scored 10 points off the bench on 5−of−7 shooting. Senior co−captains Bre Dufault and Kate Barnosky added 13 and 11 points, respectively, and also chipped in a combined 14 rebounds to lead their squad.

Despite those efforts, the Polar Bears managed to head home with the first win in NESCAC women’s basketball tournament history for a No. 8 seed.

“[The victory] feels great, and I’m really proud of my kids since we went through a lot of adversity this year,” Bowdoin coach Adrianna Shibles said. “Tufts is an amazing team and we feel fortunate to get out of here with a win.”

The last time the two teams matched up on Jan. 11, the Jumbos dispatched Bowdoin by 18 points, adding to the shock felt this weekend.

Saturday’s upset much resembles Bowdoin’s triumph in 2010, in which the Polar Bears came to Medford and defeated Berube’s team in a quarterfinal battle that went to overtime.

“I tell my women that when you get to the playoffs, you let everything go and that all the other wins and losses don’t matter,” Shibles said. “We have high expectations in our program for the postseason, and it’s a special time so we want to make the most of it.”

Dufault agreed that the team had bowed under the intense pressure.

“We needed to keep our focus, but they wanted it more tonight than we did. They brought a higher energy to our gym and we didn’t defend it like we should have.”

Now that the NESCAC season is over, the Jumbos will look ahead to the NCAA tournament, for which they can still qualify with an at−large bid.

Since the team has held a top 10 ranking for most of the season, Tufts will likely be able to plan on receiving a tournament invitation despite Saturday’s loss.

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