March 3, 2012

Tufts Advances Past Johns Hopkins in NCAA Women's Basketball

Courtesy Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. - For the second time in team history, the Tufts University women's basketball team is going to the NCAA Championship Sectional Semifinals after the Jumbos defeated Johns Hopkins 55-46 in a second-round game at Cousens Gym on Saturday night.

Tufts, which improved to 23-6 overall, will next face 27-1 University of St. Thomas in the round of 16 on Friday (Mar. 9) at a site still to be determined. Johns Hopkins finished its season with a 24-5 record.

Senior co-captain Kate Barnosky (Huntington Station, N.Y.) led Tufts with 18 points on Saturday night, including seven in the final 11 minutes of the second half when the hosts pulled away from the Blue Jays. Hopkins had erased a 10-point halftime deficit and tied the score at 31-31 with 12 minutes remaining in regulation.

Two of the better defensive teams in the nation showed their stuff for most of the first half. The score was just 13-11 Tufts at the seven-minute mark. The Jumbos took off on a 10-0 run from there, with a three-pointer by Barnosky giving Tufts a 23-11 advantage with 4:20 to play until halftime.

The Jumbos were ahead 29-19 at the break, with Barnosky's 11 points leading the way. Senior Chantel Mattiola (Trappe, Pa.) had seven at halftime for Hopkins. Tufts held JHU to 30 percent shooting (6/20) and forced 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

Hopkins scored the first six points of the second half to pull within 29-25 on a free throw by junior Alex Vassila (Potomac, Md.) at the 15:14 mark. Three-pointers by seniors Stephanie Fong (Castro Valley, Calif.) and Mattiola helped JHU tie the score 31-31 with 12:04 on the clock. Tufts missed its first 11 shots of the second half and didn't have a field goal until junior co-captain Bre Dufault (Hampden, Mass.) hit a jumper at the 11:41 mark.

A three-pointer by Jumbo sophomore Caitlin McClure (Arlington, Va.) put Tufts up 40-34 with 8:39 remaining, but Hopkins first-year Jessica Brown (Hadden Township, N.J.) entered and knocked down a three to make it a one-possession game again at 40-37 with 7:50 left.

However, another basket by McClure and a lay-up by first-year Hayley Kanner (Scarsdale, N.Y.) extended the Jumbo margin to nine points (47-38) with 5:29 remaining. Fong's jumper at 1:14 had the visitors within four at 50-46, but that's the closest they would get.

Barnosky was 9 for 10 at the line and added seven rebounds to lead the Jumbos. Sophomore Liz Moynihan (Storrs, Conn.) scored 11 pionts for Tufts, while nine rebounds from Kornegay and four assists by first-year point guard Kelsey Morehead (Foster City, Calif.) helped the cause. Tufts' 23 wins are the second-most in team history after the 26 games won by the 2007-08 team. This year's squad joins that team as the two Tufts groups to go to the "Sweet 16." The Jumbos are now 7-3 in NCAA Championship play in four appearances.

JHU was led by Fong's 14 points on six for eight shooting. Mattiola added 13 points and three steals. The Jumbos did a good job holding the Blue Jays' 6'1" post presence Vassila to no field goals and three points. She did grab nine rebounds.

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