WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - Facing off for the second time this season, the Williams College women's basketball team (7-7/1-2 NESCAC) was defeated by the Tufts University Jumbos (13-1/2-1 NESCAC) 60-39 on Friday night.
"Not taking care of the ball really cost us," observed head coach Pat Manning. "We played a better second half, but we really dug ourselves into a hole."
Junior Cailin Harrington of the Jumbos had an especially good game, claiming the spot for overall top scorer with 16 points, well over double her average PPG. Williams' Maggie Meehan was in second, with 14 points to her name and three rebounds. In rebounds, Katie Brule '20 and Maddy Mandyck '22 were at the top, netting six apiece over Molly Ryan of Tufts' five.
A three-pointer by junior Emily Chang early in the first period let Williams hold the lead for the only time in the game, as the strong defense played by Tufts repeatedly captured the ball to score. Brule, a junior who has started every game this year, proved once again to be one of Williams' most valuable players, showing off her defensive skills with multiple steals. However, the weight of the Jumbo's shooting was too much for the Ephs to bear. Meehan attempted to slow Tufts' momentum with a three-point shot, but two fouls later, the Ephs were back to being under by seven points, ending the first period down 18-11.
The beginning of the second quarter was more hopeful for Williams, as Tufts' good luck seemed to fade slightly with a mild lapse in shooting from the Jumbos. A stronger Williams defense blocked Tufts from scoring the way they had in the first period for for most for half of the rest of the second, but experienced scoring troubles themselves. After a layup from Brule at 7:15, the Ephs did not manage to put points on the board for the rest of the half. Two steals in a row by Tufts' Knapp appeared to signal another high-scoring period like the first for Tufts, but she was thwarted on her second attempt by Mandyck of Williams. By the end of the half, the Jumbos had managed to more than double their lead, leaving the score at 32-15.
A more fortuitous second half in scoring for the Ephs helped to stop the Jumbo's lead from increasing further. Under halfway through, Williams had already hit more than double their score from the previous quarter. Showing grit against the 4th ranked team in the NESCAC, the Ephs pulled together and began to build up steam, with Brule scoring six points in response to Harrington's eight for that period. Williams tallied 13 points in the third in comparison to Tuft's 14, but were facing a deficit of 18 going into the final quarter.
Energized from the success of the third, the Ephs rolled into the fourth period more confident and outrebounded the Jumbos for the first time in the game, with Brule, Mandyck, and senior Lauren Vostal all contributing. A sly layup by Lilly Paro of Tufts combined with a three-pointer from the wing by sophomore Erin Poindexter-Michan put the Jumbos at their final score of 60 points. Williams would add two more points to the board with two free throws by Morgan Dauk '21 to end down by 21 points to Tufts, with the Jumbos winning 60-39.
"Every NESCAC game is a battle. We found that out last weekend, but our conference this year is very strong across the board," asserted Manning. "Any given day, anything can happen. We'll have our hands full [tomorrow]."
The Ephs will host #5 ranked Bates tomorrow in Chandler Gymnasium at 3:00 PM.