|Lauren Dobish '12 scored in double figures for the ninth time this season, with a team-high 14 points. (File photo)|
MEDFORD, Mass. -- After a close contest featuring four ties and 11 lead changes, Tufts pulled away from the Bates women's basketball team over the final eight minutes for a 67-53 win in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Despite a winning conference record, Bates (17-7, 5-4 NESCAC) settles for the sixth seed in the eight-team NESCAC Championship, which begins next Saturday, Feb. 19. The Bobcats will play at a familiar foe in third-seeded Bowdoin (20-4, 6-3) in the conference quarterfinals at 3 p.m. Tufts (17-5, 5-4) snagged the fifth seed and will play at No. 4 Williams at 4 p.m.
Of the five teams seeded ahead of Bates, Bowdoin is the only one the Bobcats defeated in conference play, a 77-56 Bates win at Bowdoin on Jan. 22. Bowdoin won the teams' annual non-conference game 67-61 at Bates on Jan. 11.
Junior Lauren Dobish (Chambersburg, Pa.) hit 4-of-7 three-point attempts en route to a team-high 14 points, to go with four assists and two steals. Sophomore Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) scored 10 points and sophomore Brianna Hawkins (South Portland, Maine) added nine points and a team-high seven rebounds. Junior Annie Burns (Topsfield, Mass.) had six assists.
Collier Clegg led the Jumbos with 18 points, including five three-pointers on eight attempts. Tiffany Kornegay contributed 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Senior guard Colleen Hart, Tufts' all-time leading scorer, was limited to nine points but made six steals.
A tightly contested first half ended with the Jumbos leading 33-32. Bates scored the first five points of the second half to go up 37-33 on a three-pointer by Dobish. However, a 7-1 Tufts surge propelled the hosts to a 40-38 advantage when Clegg nailed one of her five three-pointers. The teams went back-and-forth over the next few minutes until the Jumbos took command.
With the game tied at 42, Tufts scored 11 of the next 12 points during a six-minute span to open up a 53-43 lead with 5:23 on the clock. Bates senior tri-captain Christine McCall (Lowell, Mass.) scored a layup to make it 53-45, but again the Jumbos went on an 11-1 run to take an 18-point, 64-46 lead at 1:15. In all, the Jumbos outscored the Bobcats 22-4 from the 11:49 mark until there was 1:15 remaining.
Defensively, Tufts held Bates to 21.2 percent shooting (7-33) in the second half. Tufts outrebounded the Bobcats 29-23 in the second half after they were trounced on the boards 21-9 during the first half. Clegg had 12 points and four rebounds in the second half for Tufts.
The largest margin of the first half had been five points for Bates, which led 20-15 after a lay-up by Beaulieu at 11:17. The Jumbos were able to turn that into a 29-25 advantage on Kornegay's three-pointer with 4:40 on the clock. After Bates went back ahead by three (32-29), Hart's jumper was the second straight Tufts basket and the hosts took a 33-32 lead into the locker room as neither team scored in the final 2:42 of the first half.
Tufts finished the game eight of 15 (53.3 percent) on three-pointers.
2011 Women’s Basketball Championship Seeding
Quarterfinals – Saturday, February 19 at higher seeds
No. 8 Trinity at No. 1 Amherst – 4:00 p.m.
No. 7 Middlebury at No. 2 Colby – 3:00 p.m.
No. 6 Bates at No. 3 Bowdoin – 3:00 p.m.
No. 5 Tufts at No. 4 Williams – 4:00 p.m.
Semifinals – Saturday, February 26 at highest remaining seed (2:00 p.m./4:00 p.m.)
Highest remaining seed vs. Lowest remaining seed
Remaining quarterfinal winners
Championship – Sunday, February 27 at 12:00 p.m.