BRUNSWICK, Maine – The Tufts University women's basketball team held off Bowdoin, 75-69, to claim the New England Small College Athletic Conference Championship on Sunday afternoon at Morrell Gymnasium.
The Jumbos (25-2) win their third NESCAC title and first since 2015 and capture the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Bowdoin (26-1) loses their first game of the season and is likely to receive an at-large bid to the championship when selections are announced on Monday afternoon.
- The first half saw five lead changes and a tie score four separate times as there was back and forth action throughout.
- The Polar Bears went on a 7-0 run to take a 26-25 lead, highlighted by a Taylor Choate steal leading to an Abby Kelly driving layup with 5:57 remaining in the second quarter.
- Tufts answered with a quick 5-0 run of their own to retake the lead at 30-26 with 4:47 left in the second period of play.
- Samantha Roy made a tough layup, followed it up with a blocked shot on the defensive end, leading to a mid-range pull up jumper to reduce the Jumbos' lead as that made the score 34-33 in favor of Tufts with 1:50 remaining in the half.
- The visitors scored closed out the half with a Molly Ryan three point jumper as time expired to take a 37-33 edge at intermission.
- Bowdoin outscored Tufts 18-15 in the third quarter, closing the gap to a single point on Annie Boasberg's second three-pointer in the period and entered the final frame trailing 52-51.
- Tufts began to pull away early in the fourth quarter as Jac Knapp made an and-one layup, followed a three-pointer on the next Jumbos' possession, giving Tufts a 60-51 lead with 8:46 remaining in the game.
- The Polar Bears fought back as Roy and Taylor Choate each made three-point jumpers to narrow the Tufts lead to 66-63 with 3:52 left.
- Tufts kept the Polar Bears at bay, hitting nine consecutive free throws in the final three minutes to seal the win.
By The Numbers
- Jac Knapp was the game-high scorer with 25 points for Tufts, surpassing the 1,000-point barrier in the process.
- Erica DeCandido added 17 points and five assists for the Jumbos.
- Maddie Hasson was the team-high scorer for Bowdoin with 20 points while Roy (12), Choate (11) and Abby Kelly (16) scored in double figures for the Polar Bears.
- Tufts converted 21 Polar Bear turnovers into 22 points.
- Each side committed 20 fouls in the game. Bowdoin shot 20/21 from the line, Tufts was 16/19.
- Despite the game being tight throughout, the Jumbos did not give up their lead after the 5:39 mark in the second quarter.
- Bowdoin will learn their NCAA Tournament fate when selections are announced on Monday at 2:30 p.m.
- The selection show will be online here: https://www.ncaa.com/sports/basketball-women/d3