In the women's basketball team's first four games of the season, the Jumbos proved they would boast a formidable post presence this season. Most of the damage came courtesy of senior co-captain Khalilah Ummah, who had racked up 56 points on 63.9 percent from the field and 37 rebounds.
Last night, however, Tufts showed that Ummah's jab would be part of a one-two punch.
Junior center Katie Tausanovitch, in her first year with the Jumbos since transferring from Div. I William and Mary, notched game highs with 27 points and 14 rebounds to lead Tufts to a 76-64 victory over visiting Babson last night in Cousens Gym. The scoring total was the highest by any Jumbo since then-sophomore forward Allison Love (L.A. '05) dropped 31 points on Clark on Jan. 28, 2003.
Tufts never trailed, controlling the game from start to finish and seeing the lead balloon to as many as 26 points midway through the second half. The team jumped out to a 14-2 lead at the 14:26 mark of the first half, getting six early points from junior guard Kim Moynihan. But then the Jumbos would turn the ball over four times over the next four minutes, allowing Babson to go on a 9-4 run and close the deficit to seven.
The Beavers, however, would get no closer. Tausanovitch was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field over the final 10:58 of the first half, helping the Jumbos take a 15-point lead into halftime.
Joining Tausanovitch in double figures for Tufts was Moynihan, who tallied 12 points on an economical 5-for-6 night from the field. Ummah meanwhile posted another strong effort, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking three shots. Freshman point guard Colleen Hart knocked down three three-pointers, including a buzzer-beater from the top of the key that ended the first half.
The victory upped the Jumbos' record to 5-0, giving the team its best start since it opened the 2004-05 season 7-0. The team was glad to keep its momentum going following Sunday's 57-43 win over regional power Brandeis, Tufts' first win over the Judges in five years.
"Brandeis was a big boost for us, so it was great to just keep it up," Hart said. "It was really important not to let down today, so it's good to come out with a win."
"Coach [Carla Berube] said before the game, 'The Brandeis game would mean nothing if we lost today,'" assistant coach Kate Gluckman said. "Good teams win the games they're supposed to win and win some they're not supposed to win. This was a necessary W. We set a goal of winning all our games against the Boston-area schools, and that's what we're working on."
Though their record is unblemished, the Jumbos still have room for improvement, particularly on the defensive end. Last season, they gave up more than 60 points only eight times in 26 games. This year, however, the team has already let up 60 points three times through five games and knows it will have to clamp down on the defensive end to continue its season-opening success.
"Obviously, we're thrilled to be 5-0, but at this point in the season, we're looking more at the quality of how we're playing," Gluckman said. "Today, we weren't really happy, especially on the defensive end ... Victories for us stem from our defense. We get easy layups in transition, and it raises our intensity of play on the offensive end if we're really going at it at the defensive end. [Babson] drove down the middle on us all the time, we didn't box out, and we committed some silly fouls. These are the kinds of things that are really going to hurt us down the road."
Tufts will next travel to Colby-Sawyer this Saturday where it will take on a 3-1 Chargers squad that has not beaten a NESCAC team since topping Middlebury on Jan. 6, 2005. The team knows that even with its start, it still has a lot left to accomplish.
"I think it's great to come out to a good start, but we still have a lot to prove," Hart said. "It's nice to send a message to other teams that we're the team to beat, and it's good to come out of this game with a win, but we need to come out even stronger next time because the next game is another strong opponent."