The #9 Tufts women's basketball team hit seven of 10 three-point attempts in the first half and never looked back while posting a 57-32 victory over St. Lawrence University in the NCAA Div. III Championships first round on Friday night at Cousens Gym.
The Jumbos, now 24-2 overall, will face Babson College in a Greater Boston area NCAA Regional final at Cousens tomorrow night at 7 pm. The Beavers (26-2) won 61-45 against New Paltz in the other NCAA first round game at Cousens on Friday night. A young and promising St. Lawrence team finishes its season with a 19-9 record.
"We knew coming into this game that this was going to be a tough match up for us," said St. Lawrence head coach Dan Roiger. "We didn't shoot well, and Tufts shot the lights out in the first half and is a fantastic defensive team. This was a great experience for a young team. I'm proud of all that we accomplished this season."
The Saints scored the game's first basket on a jumper by sophomore Kara McDuffee. However, Tufts made their first four three-point attempts by four different players while charging to a 19-5 lead. When sophomore center Hayley Kanner banked one in on her first three-point attempt of the season, Tufts led 24-5 to cap a 24-3 run covering eight minutes. Sophomore Hannah Foley later tossed in a three-point heave as the shot clock expired, helping the Jumbos to a 35-13 advantage at intermission.
Kanner's nine points led Tufts at the break. The Jumbos had nine assists on 12 first-half baskets, including three by junior Liz Moynihan. Tufts also had eight steals in the first 20 minutes, with three by first-year Emma Roberson. Tufts was five for 17 (.294) on non three-point shots in the first half.
McDuffee totaled nine points with five rebounds for the Saints in the opening half, while junior Kelly Legg had four points with three rebounds and a block.
The Saints would again score the first points of the half on a free throw by first-year Amanda Roberts to open the second. Tufts scored the next nine though, and led 44-14 after a free throw by Kate Barnosky at the 14-minute mark.
That 30-point margin would be the largest of the game for the Jumbos. St. Lawrence would not get any closer than 23 points, which came late in the contest after a layup by first-year Lauren Quattrocchi made it 55-32.
The seven threes would be the Tufts total at the end of the game after they missed all six of their attempts in the second half.
Foley and Kanner both finished at 11 points to lead Tufts, while Foley's six rebounds also led the winners. Barnosky had nine points, four rebounds, four assists, and two blocks, while senior co-captain Bre Dufault finished with nine points, five rebounds, and two steals.
The 32 points allowed by Tufts matched their second-best defensive performance of the season. Legg led the Saints with 11 points and eight rebounds, while McDuffee totaled nine points and seven rebounds. St. Lawrence shot just 26.2 percent (11/42) overall, including 2 for 12 (.167) on threes.