Women's Basketball | Tufts improves to 7−0 with win over Emerson
Another double−digit victory for the Jumbos
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 08:12
The No. 10 women’s basketball team continued its perfect season on Tuesday, blowing out Emerson College on the road, 61−43. Graduate forward Kate Barnosky led the squad with a season−best 21 points to go along with nine rebounds, and another strong defensive effort propelled the Jumbos to their sixth double−digit victory of the year.
The Jumbos were sluggish coming out of the gate and were unable to execute their plays on the offensive end. Emerson held Tufts to a meek 24.2 percent shooting from the field in the first half. But, as usual, the Jumbos’ intensity on the defensive end kept them in the game. They held Emerson to a season−low 15 points in the opening frame, on just 22.2 percent shooting.
“Defense is still a big point of emphasis this season,” sophomore guard Kelsey Morehead said. “We take pride in our defense because we know that with strong defense, our offense will come. If shots are not falling, we can always rely on our defense to pick us up.”
Tufts raised the intensity on both ends in the second half. In particular, the Jumbos dominated Emerson in the paint, grabbing 42 rebounds for the game to the Lions’ 34. In addition to Barnosky, sophomore center Hayley Kanner grabbed eight boards of her own, and the Jumbos tallied 10 second−half turnovers and turning them into eight points to pull away from Emerson.
Junior guard Liz Moynihan also provided a nice spark off the bench, scoring thirteen points and grabbing six boards. But the real story of the game was how the Jumbos managed to maintain a comfortable lead even when their offense wasn’t flowing.
“The great thing about this team is how we are not one−dimensional,” freshman guard Michelle Wu said. “When we’re not playing well offensively, we can get rebounds, force turnovers, play good defense and still do things to win games.”
Still, as the season progresses and the Jumbos face tougher competition, much of the focus remains on improving execution on the offensive end.
“I think we will become more comfortable reading one another offensively with more practices and time,” Morehead said. “We know that this is the one part of our game that has really been lacking.”
Tufts will have Wednesday off before returning to action against Mass−Boston at home on Thursday. The Jumbos will then head to Bridgewater State on Saturday for the biggest clash of their season to date. The Bears are 5−1 to begin the year, with three wins against NESCAC teams.
After the matchup with the Bears, the team enters a 23−day hiatus. The key during this time off will be to stay focused, both mentally and physically.
“This team has great chemistry this year,” Wu said. “We are comfortable with each other, and we want to keep that going moving forward.”
As phenomenal as the Jumbos’ start has been, players and coaches know that this first part of the season pales in comparison to the test they will receive at the end of the winter break, when they start to see NESCAC competition and try to make a run into the NCAA’s.
In particular, the team will have to get through four tough NESCAC games in just four days starting on Jan. 4. Those matchups against Williams, Middlebury, Bowdoin and Colby will certainly be season defining, and will provide a challenge to both the stamina and mental fortitude of the veteran Tufts team.
“We know that the season is only going to get tougher,” Morehead said. “But I am confident that this team is ready for the challenge.”
Meanwhile, the most difficult game Tufts is likely to face will come much later in the season, on Feb. 2, when the team will face a difficult road battle with No. 9 Amherst.