NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 3 Tufts 75, No. 6 Williams 51

NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 3 Tufts 75, No. 6 Williams 51

Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. – Senior Jac Knapp and sophomore Emily Briggs each scored in double-figures to lead No. 3 Tufts past No. 6 Williams, 75-51, in a NESCAC Quarterfinal victory on Saturday afternoon at Cousens Gymnasium. The playoff game marked the third time this season the Jumbos and Ephs met up, with Tufts winning all three contests.  

With the win, Tufts improves to 23-2 overall and picked up its 20th NESCAC postseason victory in program history. Tufts will play meet No. 2 Amherst on Saturday, February 23 at Bowdoin in the NESCAC Semifinals.

Following the loss, Williams' season ended with an 11-14 record.

Tufts came out of the gates firing on all cylinders led by Knapp, who scored seven of the contest's first 11 points. Williams senior Lauren Vostal and sophomore Maggie Meehan each connected on layups during that stretch. The game's next nine points came off 3-pointers, two from the Jumbos and one from the Ephs. Williams' three came from sophomore Mikaela Topper to tie things at 7-7. For the brown and blue, first-year Molly Ryan and Briggs converted from downtown, helping spark a 10-0 run over a two-minute span. The Ephs got a three from sophomore Gabby Martin to end the Jumbo run. Tufts would score the next five points led by layups from junior Erica DeCandido and first-year Sofia Rosa, and a free throw from first-year Janette Wadolowski. Knapp caught fire again in the final two minutes of the first as she hit a layup in traffic and a deep three-pointer to give the brown and blue a 31-14 edge at the end of the first. The Jumbos shot 13-21 from the floor in the first.

To begin the second, the Ephs slowed the pace of the game down and were able to cut into the Jumbo lead as Meehan and Topper combined for the first five points of the frame. The Jumbos then looked to attack the basket and were able to get free throw opportunities, with junior Cailin Harrington and sophomore Angela Alibrandi hitting a combined three foul shots. A Meehan layup got the Ephs to as close as 11 midway through the second. The Jumbos' defense for the rest of the second was lockdown as they didn't allow another point. Briggs led Tufts' offense as she attacked the basket and had four of the Jumbos' eight points in their 8-0 run to end the second quarter which gave the hosts a 42-23 halftime lead.

Ryan connected on a three-pointer and a free throw in the first two minutes of the third. After three early points by Wiliams, the Jumbo defense went on to hold the Ephs without a point over the next five minutes and forced four turnovers. During that stretch, the offense was able to score 13 points led by five from Knapp. Senior Katie Martensen, Harrington, Briggs, and DeCandido each recorded two points during a 13-0 run. Meehan connected on a pair of baskets and Hopper made a jumper as the Ephs ended the third by scoring six of the final nine points as they now trailed 62-34.

In the fourth, Williams outscored the Jumbos 17-11 behind nine points from Topper. Meehan scored six points in the frame as well. Tufts junior Sadie Otley recorded a team-high three points in the fourth.

For the game, Tufts shot 28-59 and Williams was 18-47 from the field. The brown and blue moved the ball well all day as they dished out 19 assists, while the purple and gold recorded eight. The Jumbos pulled down 37 rebounds and the Ephs collected 26.

Knapp recorded a team-high 19 points on 6-13 shooting, including three three-pointers. Briggs connected on four shots and netted 11 points. Ryan had a solid all-around game with a team-leading three steals and chipped in offensively with nine points. Harrington scored eight points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. DeCandido finished with eight points and a game-high eight assists. The Jumbos had 12 different players score in the game.

Topper netted a game-high 22 points and connected on 9 of her 17 shots. Meehan was the other Eph in double-figures with 20 points and was an efficient 7-8 from the charity stripe. Vostal grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and scored four points. The Ephs got scoring contributions from five players in the contest.