Women's Basketball | Undefeated, but far from perfect
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 02:01
There are plenty of numerical accomplishments to measure the historical significance of this season for the women’s basketball team.
There is the season-opening winning streak, which was extended to a program-record 16 games on Monday with a 64-40 victory over Wheaton College. There is the national recognition, which has earned Tufts a program-high No. 6 ranking in both the NCAA and d3hoops.com polls. Then there are the long-term markers, like coach Carla Berube’s 200th win, which came in a 54-41 victory over Middlebury on Jan. 5, making her the first Tufts women’s basketball coach to achieve that feat. There was sophomore Hannah Foley’s career-high 18 points, which came on Dec. 31 against Conn. College, and her classmate Hayley Kanner’s career-high 16 points, which came on Dec. 1 against Regis College.
But accomplishments only mean as much as those involved choose to let them, and for a Jumbos squad that is always taking things a game at a time and looking to get better, all of those stats were just a means to an end. And, 16 games into its regular season and nearly halfway through its conference slate, the team’s true goals are still a ways away.
“We always set big goals,” graduate co-captain Kate Barnosky said. “There are certain teams that we always want to beat, and we want to make it to the tournament and so on and so forth, but I think that we really just try to focus on getting better every single day. It’s great that we’ve won all of these games so far and have this winning streak, but they won’t mean anything if we don’t get it done in the NESCAC tournament and from there on, and the competition is going to get a lot tougher.”
Tufts returned from its holiday break on Dec. 31 to take on NESCAC rival Conn. College in a non-conference matchup. In their first chance to send a message of their intentions this season to the rest of the conference, the Jumbos opened the game on a 25-5 run, all but putting it out of reach just over 10 minutes into the contest. This gave Berube the chance to go deep into her bench in the second half, and play nearly the entire team at least five minutes as Tufts cruised, 69-37.
Three days later, and just 48 hours before their NESCAC opener, the Jumbos once again dominated the first half, opening up their Jan. 2 contest at Clark University with a 33-8 run. The Cougars came charging back in the second half, shooting 54.2 percent from the field and forcing Berube to keep her starters on the court for longer than she may have planned. But in the end Tufts never let the lead shrink down to single digits, finishing the Cougars off 65-53.
The Jumbos opened their conference slate with a key matchup at home on Jan.4 against Williams. The Ephs entered the game 9-1 on the season with a long history of success against Tufts. But the Jumbos grabbed the initiative with yet another fast start, opening on a 13-4 run.
The upperclassmen took over early, with Barnosky scoring the team’s first five points before junior guard Liz Moynihan came off the bench and went to work, adding six of her own. But it was Foley who the Ephs could not seem to answer. She went into the locker room with 11 points, helping the Jumbos to a 35-26 halftime lead. Foley earned NESCAC Player of the Week honors for her performance in the team’s four games that week, averaging 13.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals.
Tufts seemed to have the game under control in the second half, but the Ephs responded, bringing back memories for Tufts of a devastating overtime loss to Williams two years earlier on the very same floor.
Down nine with less than two minutes to go, Williams managed to cut the lead down to four after Jumbo miscues, forcing Berube to call a timeout.
“We’ve made mistakes in the past, so we just talked about situations,” Barnosky said of the team’s talk during the timeout. “We discussed what we wanted to do defensively and the type of offense we wanted to play and how much time was left. I think we just need to be more aware of specific situations.”
Tufts ran the shot clock down before taking a shot, and though it went wide, senior co-captain Bre Dufault outworked two Eph defenders for the rebound. After running the clock down once again, the ball went out of bounds with little time left to shoot. But Moynihan was able to pick out sophomore point guard Kelsey Morehead driving through the lane on the inbounds pass, feeding her a pass for a quick layup that served as the dagger. The Jumbos held on for the win, 61-57.