Students show support for Melissa Baptista at Saturday game

Several students gathered at the women's basketball game against Regis College on Saturday with signs to support senior forward Melissa Baptista. (Courtesy Tufts Latino Center)

During the women’s basketball game against Regis College on Saturday, a group of students and alumni gathered to cheer on senior forward Melissa Baptista. Latino Center Director Julián Cancino brought the group together on Saturday at Bolles House.

“Tufts Latino Center supports Latinx students and their passions—be it computer science, theater, or basketball,” Cancino told the Daily in an email. “We see you, and we’re proud of you.”

Sophomore Kelsey Narvaez was one of the students at the Latino Center gathering, holding posters recognizing Baptista and wearing leis with the colors of Brazilian flag. Narvaez went to the game to show support for members of the school’s Latino community.

“I think it’s important for the Latino community to celebrate the successes of individuals within the community,” Narvaez told the Daily in an email. “We aren’t a very big community on a campus so I think it is necessary to show up for people and show that although they might get lost in the grander Tufts image, we see them and we’re here to cheer them on.”

Narvaez and Cancino both said they look forward to similar displays of community support in the future.

“We hope to continue supporting our athletes of color and strong women role models,” Cancino wrote. “And, of course, show off our Jumbo Pride!”

Meanwhile, Baptista scored eight points for the Jumbos on Saturday, bringing her total to 20 for last weekend’s two-day tournament. She returns to the team after a successful 2016–2017 season, during which she was the Jumbos’ leading scorer with 12.5 points per game. This year, she was named to the NCAA Preseason All-American First Team.