Women's Basketball | Women’s basketball moves to 20-0 in win over Bates
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 01:01
Playing just one game this weekend instead of a typical NESCAC doubleheader, the No. 6 women’s basketball team, led by coach Carla Berube, was able to focus all its attention on its trip to take on the Bates Bobcats in Maine on Saturday. The result was another dominant performance in the conference, as the Jumbos improved to 20-0 overall and 7-0 in the NESCAC with a 55-34 win.
Tufts was led by strong performances across the board, with sophomore Hannah Foley leading the way, totaling 17 points and seven rebounds in the contest. She shot 46 percent, going 6-of-13 from the field and 3-for-6 from three-point range.
Despite the lopsided final score, the Jumbos started slowly, trailing by deficits of 8-4 and 13-9 early. But relying on their defense to fuel their offense, Tufts was able to rapidly turn the tables, closing the half on a 23-4 run that included a stretch of six straight possessions with a turnover for the Bobcats that the Jumbos turned into nine points.
“Our motto has been all season that with enough defensive stops, the shots will eventually begin to fall,” junior Liz Moynihan said. “We have to trust ourselves that even through a bad start, we’re a very deep team. When we force turnovers, it will lead to fast breaks, layups, and more made shots — it’s a cycle.”
Overall, Tufts forced 27 Bates turnovers in the game, while holding the Bobcats to just 29.5 percent shooting overall and 7.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Berube’s defense-first attitude continues to reverberate for all of her players, and it will be critical if the Jumbos hope to continue their success later this season.
“Everyday, we are working on our defense in practice,” Moynihan said. “Coach will put us in situations where the offense has the advantage, forcing the defense to get better, and in turn putting pressure on the offense. In that way, it helps us feed off each other when it comes time for games.”
For the Tufts players, success is bred primarily in practice, with none taken lightly. Graduate student and co-captain Kate Barnosky, who will take over as an assistant coach next season, has been through countless practices in Cousens Gym, and notes that each one is just as significant as the next.
“People don’t know that our practices are actually really competitive,” she said. “Our team is extremely deep this year, and to compete against such a strong group of players on a daily basis certainly brings out our best. We’re lucky to have lots of game experience under our belt, but we can’t take any matchup for granted.”
Brianna Hawkins was the only player to reach double digits for the Bobcats, scoring 11 points in the game on 4-of-7 shooting. Nevertheless, the Jumbos continued to hold their opponents’ key players to low-scoring numbers, another factor that will be crucial if Berube’s squad hopes to gain an advantage and knock off some of college basketball’s best teams in the upcoming NESCAC and NCAA tournaments.
“We keep approaching each game like it’s the most important game to date, which is in fact the situation at this point in the season,” Moynihan said. “We keep striving to play our best every time we step onto the court, and with enough poise, we know we can create and build on our leads as a way to finish games.”
With 20 straight wins in the books, the team turns towards a challenging stretch with just four games left in the regular season. On Tuesday, the squad hosts Rhode Island College, looking to get revenge for last season’s 62-41 defeat. They then have a key NESCAC weekend on the road against a Trinity College team that is 4-2 in conference and an Amherst squad ranked fourth in the nation and undefeated in the NESCAC since March 1, 2009.
“This has been an amazing final year so far, but what’s even better is that we haven’t even touched our goals for this season yet,” Barnosky said. “None of us is simply happy with 20 wins, and we can’t wait to hopefully make some noise in the playoff tournaments coming up in the next few weeks.”