On Saturday, Tufts women’s basketball traveled to play the Bates Bobcats, where the Jumbos lost on a heartbreaking buzzer beater. The game ended 62–60.
Going into the fourth quarter, Bates was winning 42–40. With 47 seconds left, the Jumbos were able to bring the score to 60–58 after junior guard Annika Decker made two free throws. After a missed shot by the Bobcats, senior guard Callie O’Brien grabbed the rebound to get the ball back into the Jumbos’ possession. Tufts called a timeout, and when play resumed junior guard Sofia Gonzalez had the ball. Searching for someone to pass to, Gonzalez found senior guard Samantha Sousa open. Sousa pushed through the Bobcats’ defense to make a layup, tying the game at 60 all with one second left.
With under a second left, the Bobcats’ Elsa Daulerio scored a layup to end the game 62–60.
“I felt that we really had the chance to win,” Gonzalez said. “It was a very frustrating ending. Nobody likes to lose on a buzzer beater.”
Sousa explained that despite the loss, the Jumbos still appreciated the electric energy that a tight game brings.
“Obviously, it was a super intense game, so I think everyone on our team was really fired up,” Sousa said. “That’s the type of environment we want to play in, so it was honestly really fun — obviously not the outcome that we wanted to get, but it's just really fun playing in those moments.”
Gonzalez explained that before the game, the Jumbos studied the Bobcats, which helped prevent their opponents from scoring more.
“Knowing personnel and what people like to do, more than their plays or anything like that [was helpful],” Gonzalez explained. “I think that did end up helping us a lot during the game because we stopped a lot of people from doing what they like to do best.”
Throughout the game, senior forward Maggie Russell led the Jumbos in scoring with 24 points. However, she fouled out with two minutes left, leaving the Jumbos without their top scorer in a critical final spell of play. In terms of scoring, Russell was followed by Gonzalez and Sousa, who scored 14 and 8 points respectively.
The Jumbos also had a strong defense that helped them throughout the game.
“I think that we did a pretty good job on defense compared to other games,” Sousa said. “I didn't think we had as many defensive lapses or [were] out of position too many times, so that was really great.”
The Jumbos used the defense they’d been building up throughout the season to force 13 turnovers from the Bobcats. Tufts had a total of seven steals throughout the game, while Bates ended with only three.
The Jumbos’ overall performance signaled that they are strong competitors in the NESCAC this year. Their NESCAC record is 2–2, while Bates sits at 4–0. Yet, the competition came down to the final seconds of the game, indicating the gap in talent was almost nonexistent.
On Friday, Tuftswill travel to Williamstown, Mass. to play Williams.
The Jumbos have had strong showings in the NESCAC and are excited to see where they go from here.
Gonzalez explained that despite the loss, they played a strong game, which will be helpful moving forward.
“I think that especially going into next weekend, being able to know stuff that we did well … and [that] we fought until the last minute — I think that’s going to be really important for our morale and also our confidence,” Gonzalez said. “I don't think that there's any reason we shouldn't be winning these next couple games in the coming weekends.”