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Women's Basketball | Women’s basketball continues dominance in weekend’s NESCAC matchups

Jumbos overwhelm Wesleyan, Conn. College to reach 18−0

Published: Monday, January 21, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 00:01

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JJ Zhou / The Tufts Daily

Sophomore Hayley Kanner recorded six blocks for the Jumbos, the most in half a decade, as they defeated Wesleyan by 44 points.

For weeks now, the No. 4 Jumbos have been struggling to balance their offensive and defensive performances, often prioritizing one while sacrificing the other.

But in the second home NESCAC weekend of the season, Tufts seemed to put it all together, following up an 80−36 pounding of Wesleyan on Friday night with a 61−32 victory over Conn. College the following afternoon.

With the wins, the Jumbos improve to 18−0 with just six games left in the regular season.

Friday’s win against Wesleyan was especially noteworthy for Tufts, whose offensive barrage on the Cardinals’ defense harkened back to Jumbo teams of old. Hannah Foley led Tufts with 28 points on 10−of−14 shooting, marking the most points scored by a Jumbo since Colleen Hart (E’11) netted 31 in a losing effort against Kean University on March 6, 2010. It also marked the first 80−point effort for the team since they totaled 88 against Lasell College on Nov. 20, 2010.

The offense was the direct beneficiary of a punishing Jumbos’ defense that didn’t gave the Cardinals an inch for much of the afternoon. In total, the team forced 25 turnovers, turning them into 29 points.

“Coach [Carla Berube] stresses that quality offense will come from great defense,” Foley said. “We take it one game at a time, and since every NESCAC game is a really good game, we have to continue to come out as hard as we normally do if we hope to succeed in our game plan.”

Tufts led Wesleyan by 25 at halftime, and the margin only continued to grow en route to the 44−point victory. Alongside Foley’s 28 points, graduate student and co−captain Kate Barnosky chipped in 11 points and five rebounds, while sophomore Hayley Kanner finished with six blocks, the most by a Jumbo since Khalilah Ummah (A’08) on Nov. 25, 2007.

The Jumbos returned to the floor Saturday and continued their dominance against the NESCAC’s Conn. College Camels. The squad cruised to an easy 61−32 victory behind 17 points from Kanner, for whom the Camels had no answer in the post, and a four−point, five−assist performance from sophomore point guard Kelsey Morehead. The Jumbos jumped out to a 15−5 lead, and the result was never in doubt the rest of the way.

“I definitely believe that everything starts with energy,” Kanner said. “When the bench is on fire, everyone on the court is on fire and it’s very contagious.”

Conn. College Senior forward and defending NESCAC Player of the Week Tara Gabelman was held to six points on 2−of−5 shooting after missing most of the teams’ first matchup this season.

The Jumbos showed an impressive seamlessness on both the offensive and defensive ends all weekend, always providing the right help defense or the extra pass when needed.

“From the beginning, we’ve had great team chemistry, and everyone really pushes each other to do well,” Barnosky said. “Our off−court relationships have certainly translated into great chemistry on the court.”

Looking forward, the 18−0 Jumbos’ road gets more difficult as the season roars toward its conclusion. Berube’s squad will travel to Emmanuel College (Mass.) tomorrow, a group that started the season ranked nationally, followed by a trip to Bates College on Jan. 26. These matchups will be critical for Tufts’ continued success, as the team looks forward to its game against NESCAC rival and national powerhouse No. 3 Amherst on Feb. 2.

Regardless of the upcoming competition, the Jumbos are confident that this team has the talent to go deep into both the conference and national tournaments.

“This year brings a great combination of both experienced and young players, and the sophomores already have tremendous game experience after making it to the Sweet 16 last season,” Barnosky said. “Everyone has really bought into our game plan of outworking our opponents, and I look forward to each and every challenge ahead.”

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