Women’s basketball splits NESCAC road trip

Last week's game against Smith is pictured. Kiana Vallo / The Tufts Daily

This past weekend, the Tufts women’s basketball team went 1–1 in a brief two-game road trip where it faced NESCAC opponents Trinity College and Connecticut College. The Jumbos dropped Friday’s game to the rival Bantams by a score of 60–42, but regained their footing the following day in a 78–45 domination of the Camels. The Brown and Blue now move to 17–3 on the year and 6–2 in conference play, which situates them behind NESCAC-leading Trinity, which leads with a 14–4 record and are 6–1 in the NESCAC. 

The Bantams boast one of the conference’s best defenses, and their unrelenting intensity challenged the Jumbos,who shot a season low of 12–53 from the field and 3–27 from beyond the arc, all game. Senior forward Sofia Rosa competed for the Jumbos throughout, finishing with 10 points while playing a season high 31 minutes. Tufts’ leading scorer was sophomore guard Callie O’Brien, who finished with 11 points.

Trinity’s offense was reliant on junior Samantha Gallo and senior Bailey Hyland, who combined for 29 points on an efficient 10–20 from the field. The Bantams’ offensive success was largely fueled by their work in the post, accumulating 26 points in the paint, besting Tufts’ total of 12. 

Suffering its  worst loss of the year, the Tufts women’s basketball coach Jill Pace relayed an optimistic message to her squad after the game: “Keep [your] heads high, tomorrow is a new day … [you] have to move on and learn from the losses,” she said, according to senior co-captain Molly Ryan.

The next day the Jumbos traveled to New London, Conn. to face the Camels, who hold a 4–16 record and are 2–6 in conference play. The Camels beat the Bantams by two points earlier this season. On a night when Conn. College honored its seniors, Tufts surged to a 9–0 lead with three layups from Rosa and a 3-pointer from Ryan. A pair of triples from graduate student and co-captain Erin Poindexter McHan over the span of three possessions helped Tufts emerge from the first quarter with a 21–15 advantage.

Leading the NESCAC in team assists per game at just over 15, this team’s selflessness is displayed by its willingness to share the rock. “We work the ball around well, we hit the open player, we have confidence in one another,” Ryan said.

The Jumbos’ offense was steady throughout the game, finishing the game with 78 points and eclipsing their NESCAC leading average of about 71. The game’s leading scorer, Rosa, finished near perfect. She drained seven of her eight field goals to finish with 16 points. Sophomore Maggie Russell was second with 14 points, while recording her 11th double-double out of 17 games played.

Junior forward Joelle Zelony came off the bench to chip in eight points. She went 3–3, with two of those baskets being 3-pointers.

With two games left in the regular season, Tufts will look to challenge for first place in the NESCAC as the team visits Middlebury and Williams next weekend.