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Women's hoops knocks off No. 14 Tufts, 71-55

Jessie Igoe '11 scored a career-high 22 points with 11 rebounds to lead Bates past No. 14 Tufts.

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College women's basketball team topped No. 14-ranked Tufts University 71-55 on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Bates earns the No. 6 seed in the NESCAC Championship, which begins next Saturday. The Bobcats will play at third-seed Williams in the quarterfinal round, with the tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m. Tufts (19-4, 6-3 NESCAC) earns the No. 4 seed and will host fifth seed Bowdoin.

It is the first win over a nationally ranked team for the Bobcats (13-11, 4-5 NESCAC) since Jan. 13, 2006, when Bates knocked off then-No. 2 Bowdoin 56-51.

Bates junior Jessie Igoe (Lexington, Mass.) scored a career-high 22 points, including a 10-for-11 performance at the free throw line, to go with 11 rebounds to lead Bates. Senior Lauren Yanofsky (Belmont, Mass.) added 12 points, while sophomore Annie Burns (Topsfield, Mass.) dished out eight assists and had nine rebounds.

Colleen Hart led the Jumbos with 18 points, while Julia Baily added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to go with three steals.

Bates outrebounded Tufts 44-33 and hit 20 of 25 foul shots, compared to a 3-of-8 performance at the line for the Jumbos.

The Bobcats started the game out on fire. Burns fed Yanofsky for a layup off the opening tip, then followed a Tufts miss by hitting an open first-year Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) for a three-pointer in transition. Burns assisted on an Igoe three-point play and a Yanofsky jumper shortly after for a 10-2 Bates lead. Tufts got off the mat with baskets by Baily and Hart, but the Bobcats responded by reeling off eight unanswered points for a 20-6 lead with 11:38 to go. The Jumbos cut the lead down to seven thanks to three straight 3-pointers by Hart, Lindsay Weiner and Kate Barnosky, but a layup by Igoe and a three-pointer by first-year Taryn O'Connell (Georgetown, Mass.) padded the lead back to 12. A layup by O'Connell and two free throws by sophomore Kelsey Flaherty (South Portland, Maine) gave Bates a 15-point advantage, but Tufts cut it to 40-28 at the half when Barnosky canned a three with three seconds left.

Tufts emerged from the locker room with renewed intensity, and the Jumbos quickly cut the Bates lead down to four with an explosive short stint by Hart, who hit a jumper followed by two straight 3-pointers to make it 40-36 with 18:24 to play, the second following a Bates timeout.

The Bobcats showed mettle in not wilting under the pressure of the Tufts surge. Igoe blocked a Baily shot and Burns collected the ball to start a fast break with a Yanofsky layup. The play ignited a 10-0 run by the Bobcats, including a pair of jumpers by Beaulieu and two more hoops by Yanofsky, another fast-break layup on a Burns assist, and a turnaround bank shot assisted by first-year Bri Hawkins (South Portland, Maine), which made it 50-36 Bates with 14:47 to play.

Bates extended the lead as high as 18 on two occasions, 58-40 at 9:50 mark and 62-44 with 6:37 to go. But Tufts' Lindsay Weiner started a last-ditch effort by the Jumbos to get back into the game, hitting a jumper on an assist by Kate Barnosky, then following a Hart steal and layup by assisting on a Barnosky three to close it to 62-51 with 5:16 left. Hart then responded to a pair of Igoe free throws with her fourth trey of the day to close the gap to 64-54 with 3:34, but time was running out for the Jumbos. Igoe drew another foul and hit both freebies, then got to the line again, hitting the first for a 10-for-10 effort before missing her 11th and final foul shot. But Bates led 67-55 with 2:14 left. A steal by Igoe produced two foul shots for sophomore Lauren Dobish (Chambersburg, Pa.), and a final jumper by Igoe gave the Bobcats the final tally.

Stats and Play by Play: Bates 71, Tufts 55