NESCAC Semifinal: No. 3 Tufts 60, No. 2 Bowdoin 48

NESCAC Semifinal: No. 3 Tufts 60, No. 2 Bowdoin 48

Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. – The Tufts University women's basketball team defeated Bowdoin College, 60-48, in the New England Small College Athletic Conference semifinals Saturday afternoon at Amherst's LeFrak Gymnasium.

This will mark the fifth straight year that the Jumbos will advance to the the conference finals and the fourth of five years the game will be against Amherst. The Mammoths defeated Wesleyan today in the other semifinal.

Erica DeCandido and Jac Knapp led the way for Tufts. DeCandido had a game-high 17 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. Knapp picked up a double-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Kate Kerrigan led the Polar Bears with 13 points and five rebounds.

Lauren Dillon opened the game with a three-pointer after Knapp stole the ball on Bowdoin's first possession. The Polar Bears briefly took the lead, 6-5, in the first quarter after a Kerrigan jumper, but Emily Briggs answered back with a layup to put the Jumbos back up and they held onto the lead for the remainder of the frame. They went into the second up, 14-10.

In the second quarter, after two buckets by Melissa Baptista and one by Decandido, Tufts was up by nine. Bowdoin would then go on a 7-0 run and brought it back to within two. DeCandido closed the half out with five straight points to go into the break with the score at 27-20.

Five different Jumbos scored in the third quarter, led by DeCandido's and Briggs' four points each, while Baptista and Katie Martensen both had three. Dillon hit two free throws and grabbed three rebounds in the frame. After two free throws by the Polar Bears, the third quarter ended with Tufts up, 43-35.

The closest Bowdoin got in the fourth and final frame was within five when Kerrigan hit a jumper to bring it to 46-41. But then Knapp exploded for the Jumbos' next 12 points to put the game away. Dillon and Briggs each hit a free throw to wrap things up in the final 20 seconds.

It was quite a turnaround from the first time these teams played earlier in the season. The Jumbos got into foul trouble early and ended up losing, 66-53. Now they turn their attention to Amherst. The Mammoths are the reigning conference champions and beat the Jumbos earlier in February, but only by seven.

The finals will be tomorrow at noon at Amherst.