SCRANTON, Pa. - The Bowdoin College women's basketball team never trailed after the opening moments and rolled to a convincing 66-48 victory over Tufts University in the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Championship on Saturday evening at Scranton University.
With the win, the Polar Bears (28-2) advance to the Division III Final Four for the second time, joining the 2004 squad as the only teams in program history to accomplish the feat. The contest was the third and deciding match between Bowdoin and Tufts (25-5), who had split their two earlier meetings this season.
- After a Melissa Baptista three-pointer gave Tufts a 3-2 lead two minutes into the game, Bowdoin caught fire, rolling off a 16-2 run to take command of the contest.
- Taylor Choate scored six points in the surge for Bowdoin, who built their lead to as many as 13 points, 18-5, late in the frame and carried a 20-8 lead into the second quarter.
- Bowdoin pushed their lead to 15 points following an Abby Kelly jumper early in the second but ran into some foul trouble as Tufts began chipping away.
- Tufts' Baptista, Erica DeCandido and Jac Knapp accounted for all 15 Jumbo points in the second period as the Bowdoin lead was cut to ten points, 33-23, at intermission.
- The Jumbos made their best run at Bowdoin to open the third quarter, coming out on a 6-2 run on the strength of Baptista, who scored all six points, to cut the Polar Bear lead to 35-29.
- Both teams went cold for the next few minutes and Tufts squandered three possessions that would've cut further into the Bowdoin lead.
- The Polar Bears stemmed the tide and Tufts could get no closer as Bowdoin pushed the lead back to double figures on a Kate Kerrigan three-pointer late in the quarter, carrying a 44-33 lead into the fourth.
- Bowdoin pressed the gas to open the fourth period, scoring the first 13 points of the frame to put the game out of reach. Choate knocked down a pair of three-pointers as the Polar Bears quickly pushed their lead over 20 points.
- Bowdoin coasted down the stretch, leading by as many as 24 points and dealing Tufts their worst loss of the season (18 points).
By The Numbers
- Taylor Choate was outstanding, scoring 18 points with three assists to help propel the Polar Bear offense.
- Kate Kerrigan was her usual self, scoring 11 points, grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out five assists and collecting a pair of steals. Maddie Hasson added ten big points off the bench for Bowdoin.
- Melissa Baptista led the way for Tufts, scoring 18 points with six boards.
- Just two weeks after being dominated on the boards by Tufts in the NESCAC semifinals, Bowdoin returned the favor on Saturday: holding an improbable 46-30 advantage in rebounding and owning a 15-4 edge in second-chance points.
- The Polar Bear defense held Tufts to 29% shooting for the game while the Bowdoin offense connected on 40% of their shots from the field. Bowdoin also cashed in on 17-21 (81%) from the free throw line.
- Bowdoin's bench also pitched in 21 big points in the victory.
- Bowdoin heads to the national semifinals in Rochester, Minnesota next Friday, March 16 where they will play the winner of Wartburg-East Texas Baptist. Game times, tickets, and broadcast information will be announced on Monday.
- The Polar Bears will be making just their second "Final Four" appearance, joining the 2004 squad which finished as national runners-up. It was just the second win in seven "Elite Eight" appearances for the Polar Bears and the first win in their first try under head coach Adrienne Shibles.