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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Jumbos' 45-point first half carries team to 6-0 start

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Senior tri-captain point guard Kelsey Morehead drives to the basket during the Jumbos' 74-51 victory against Brandeis on Nov. 22.

Fueled by a season-high 45 points in the first half, Tufts improved to 6-0 on the season after handing the 4-0 Wheaton College team its first loss of the season on Monday night. The Jumbos shot 47.4 percent (18-for-38) from the field and 57.1 percent (8-for-14) from distance in the first half to build up a 27-point advantage heading into halftime.

Tufts scored 13 unanswered points to start the game and rolled to a 21-4 tally, as Wheaton senior forward Abbie Brickley was the only opposing player able to get on the board in the first 11-and-a-half minutes. Brickley scored the first four points for her team and led her team in points and rebounds, with 12 and eight, respectively.

"Coach has been talking about starting our games with more energy," junior guard Emma Roberson said. "We've come out a little flat the past couple of games, so we'd been focusing on coming out stronger to start the games.[The game against Wheaton] is really the best example of that."

During the Jumbos 21-4 run, each of the five starters tallied at least two points, headlined by senior tri-captain Hannah Foley's eight-point outburst that included a pair of three pointers. Foley finished with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc with six rebounds and four assists in just 22 minutes of play.

Three of the team's starters were in double-digits on Tuesday night: Foley (16), sophomore forward Michela North (15) and senior tri-captain Hayley Kanner (12).Tufts held a 29-9 differential in points from turnovers, aided by North's game-high five steals. Roberson posted a game-high six assists, as the Jumbos displayed their characteristic unselfish offensive play.

"Everyone was on yesterday [and] making shots, so it makes it easier to pick up assists," Roberson said. "I think that [on our team] everyone is an offensive threat, so [the defense] can't really focus to take away one player. Between our guards and our forwards everyone can score, so the defense has to be on us to guard everyone. It's difficult to guard five people for 30 seconds on every offensive play, so moving the ball really tires the defense. Eventually we're able to get open, and often."

Freshman Lauren Dillon played a season-high 18 minutes and is averaging the third most playing time per game for a guard, behind starters senior tri-captain Kelsey Morehead and Roberson. She recorded five assists against Wheaton and is averaging 9.8 minutes per game on the season.

"I'm the backup point guard so I go in when Kelsey [Morehead] needs a rest or the team needs a boost of energy," Dillon said. "I'm more of a facilitator, as compared to looking for [baskets for] myself, and that's how I've always played. I'm always looking to get my teammates the best opportunity to score as possible."

Morehead is averaging 29.2 minutes per game this season, compared to the 35 minutes per game she averaged last season, and is looking to capitalize off the additional resting time she gets during games. Morehead has been more efficient this season (albeit just six games into the season), averaging eight points per game compared to the 7.8 points per game she averaged over last season.

Morehead's play will also have a big impact on the development of Dillon as a backup point guard this season. Dillon's development will be crucial to the team's depth, especially if the Jumbos look to match or surpass last season's Final Four showing.

"It's been awesome having Kelsey Morehead as someone to look up to, because she plays in a very similar way to me," Dillon said. "We're pretty similar [in] height and we have more of a drive-and-kick mindset, pass-first [mindset], so it's been great to be able to ask questions, and for her to be able to tell me what to do to ease my transition into the system."

Tufts hosts non-conference opponent Fitchburg State University this Saturday at 2 p.m. in its final home game of the semester.