COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL FINAL SCORE
Tufts 69 Middlebury 58
Friday, February 14, 2003
MEDFORD – Freshman guard Jessica Powers (Massapequa, NY) had 19 points and nine rebounds to lead the Tufts University Women's Basketball team to a 69-58 victory over Middlebury College in a NESCAC game at Cousens Gym on Friday night. The win was the first in Tufts history against Middlebury since the teams began playing annually in 1993.
The Jumbos improved to 17-5 overall, the most wins by the program since 1990-91. They solidified their spot in the upcoming conference tournament by improving to 4-4 in the league. Middlebury, which played without leading scorer Kristin Hanley (Seattle, WA), dropped to 11-11 overall and 3-5 in NESCAC.
Leading 22-18 at the 8:47 mark of the first half, Tufts initiated a 13-3 run to build their biggest lead of the game at 14 points, 35-21, on a jumper by Powers with two minutes to play until halftime. They led by 10 at the break, 35-25, behind 10 points by junior center Erin Buckley (East Sandwich, MA) in the first half. Junior Alexis Batten (Avalon, NJ) had 10 points and six rebounds at the half for Middlebury.
Tufts still had its 10-point lead at 41-31 after a Buckley lay up at 14:40 of the second half, but the Panthers twice closed to within four points over the next six minutes. Batten's lay up at 8:33 cut the Tufts lead to 47-43. Three-pointers by Powers at 7:37 and sophomore guard Erin Connolly (Syosset, NY) at 5:41 helped the Jumbos get the lead up to 11 points, 59-48, at 4:58. Middlebury stuck around and got as close as six points, 64-58, on a jumper by senior Wesley Hyatt (Amesbury, MA) with 1:13 to go. Tufts was eight for 10 from the free throw line in the closing minutes to maintain their lead, including six freebies by freshman guard Julia Verplank (Zeeland, MI).
Hyatt finished as the game-high scorer with 21 points, including 13 in the second half. Batten posted a double-double for the Panthers with 14 points and 12 rebounds (five offensive), and sophomore Alexis Hollinger (New London, NH) had 11 points and five rebounds.
Buckley posted 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks for Tufts, which won its second straight. Verplank added 10 points.
Both teams finish their regular seasons tomorrow. Tufts hosts Williams and Middlebury travels to Bates.