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Women’s Basketball | Tufts continues to chase perfection against familiar NESCAC foes

Published: Friday, January 18, 2013

Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 08:01

This weekend, the women’s basketball team will look to remain undefeated in a pair of games against NESCAC opposition at Cousens Gymnasium. Tufts, ranked sixth in the nation by d3hoops.com and fourth by the NCAA coaches, will face 8−6 Wesleyan for the first time this season on Friday before a rematch of a December contest on Saturday afternoon against 6−9 Conn. College.

Despite their gaudy 16−0 record, the Jumbos have no intention of taking either opponent lightly. While the Cardinals have not been the most dangerous team in the NESCAC offensively — they currently rank second to last in the conference in points — Tufts will still need a complete effort on defense, according to junior guard Liz Moynihan.

“Given past experience, this Wesleyan team looks a lot like us from a year ago,” Moynihan said of a squad that managed just 32 points last season in a loss to the Jumbos. “Since the Cardinals are a huge threat even without a consistent scorer, the key will be to play with high energy and high intensity on both ends of the floor to come out with a win.”

In its previous matchup with Conn. College, Tufts handled the Camels with ease on the road in a 69−37 victory. But in that contest on Dec. 31, junior forward Tara Gabelman, the Camels’ leading scorer and defending NESCAC Player of the Week, was only able to play six minutes off the bench. With Gabelman ready to start on Saturday, the Jumbos will have to adapt to her physical inside play.

“Even going up against one of the top scorers in the league, we feel very confident,” Moynihan said. “This time around, in NESCAC season, all of the teams become so much more competitive and you have to forget everyone’s record.”

The weekend will be an important tune−up before the most difficult six−game stretch of their season, which includes a Jan. 29 matchup with a Rhode Island College squad that beat Tufts by more than 20 points last year, along with a key in−conference game against No. 3 Amherst on Feb. 2.

“Even though we’re playing well, we still have a lot to improve upon, and we don’t want to settle,” Moynihan said. “We haven’t played our best game yet, and that’s what it’ll take to finish off the season strong.”

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