Tuesday, March 23, 2004
By Elliott Wiley, Jr.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL GAINS MORE MOMENTUM IN 2003-04
2003-04 Tufts University women's basketball team was the university's second
winning-est women's basketball team at 18-6, behind only the 1986-87 team that
went 20-3. Despite losing to Williams in the first round of the New England
Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) tournament, 73-52, on February 21,
the Jumbos and head coach Carla Berube have a lot to be proud of this season.
the second season in a row, sophomore guard Jessica
Powers (Massapequa, NY/Massapequa) and junior forward Allison
Love (Duxbury, MA/Duxbury) were the team's top statistical leaders. Both
players averaged 12.8 points per game with Love scoring two more points than
Powers to hold a slight edge. Love led the team in rebounds with 7.4 per game
and Powers led in assists with 3.6 per game. They were both named to the All-NESCAC
Powers and Love as the Jumbos' core offense, sophomore guard Julia
Verplank (Zeeland MI/Zeeland) (9 ppg, 3.2 assists and 2.7 steals per game),
senior tri-captain Maritsa Christoudias
(Saddle River, NJ/Ramsey) (6.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.3 spg), senior tri-captain
center Erin Buckley (East Sandwich,
MA/Sandwich) (6.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 2.3 blocks per game) and senior
tri-captain forward Kate Gluckman (Morrisville, VT/Peoples Academy) (5.0
ppg, 3.5 rpg) also made huge veteran contributions.
set both the single-season and career records for blocked shots at Tufts. The
6'1" center swatted away 55 shots this season, a 2.3 average that was second
in NESCAC. She broke the career blocks record originally set by Jen Foxson on
December 5 at Southern Maine. Buckley finished her career with 139. Verplank's
2.65 steals per game was second in NESCAC, while Powers placed fifth with her
veteran poise in crunch time was balanced by exciting young play by the team's
freshmen guards Jenny Muller (Andover,
Miller-Stevens (Avon, CT/Avon) and Valerie
Krah (Mountain Lakes, NJ/Mountain Lakes). Muller and Krah were the team's
most accurate three-point shooters, showing signs for scoring for the future.
The team set the program's record for most three-pointers made in a season
(123). Miller-Stevens provided good relief for Verplank off the bench at point
Erin Connolly (Syosset, NY/Syosset), sophomore forward Katherine
Miller (Bangor, ME/Bangor), freshman forward Danielle Vardaro (North
Reading, MA/Phillips Andover) and freshman guard Marilyn Duffy-Cabana
(Amesbury, MA/Amesbury) also made good contributions to the team.
players give much credit to Berube. In her second year at Tufts, the former
UConn stand-out has guided Tufts to a 35-13 record. Berube instills team
cohesiveness that shows on the court through the Jumbos' dominant defense.
Tufts' women were everywhere, creating 12.3 steals and 22 turnovers per game.
Opponents only caused the Jumbos to turnover the ball 18.5 times a game and
created steals 8.6 times a game.
the offensive end, Tufts scored almost 70 points a game and shot 41.1 percent
from the field for the year. Both marks ranked second in the conference. It
wasn't as if the Jumbos played against cupcakes either, Tufts was able to
perform to a high level against top competition. The NESCAC is one of the
premier Division-III conferences in the country, yet Tufts was able to come out
with a 7-2 regular season league record.
the biggest win of the season, which put Tufts in position to create a three-way
tie for second place in the conference, was its 47-46 win at previously unbeaten
Wesleyan on January 17. Love was the hero of the contest with a game-high 12
points including the game-winning basket at the buzzer. At the time Wesleyan was
ranked 18th in the country. The Cardinals finished 7-2 in the league with their
only losses coming to undefeated Bowdoin and Tufts.
her efforts in that game, in the previous day's game at Connecticut College, and
for a season-high of 25 points in a 91-66 win against Emmanuel earlier in the
week, Love earned her second NESCAC Player of the Week honors. She was also
named co-player of the week on December 8.
nationally spotlighted teams on Tufts' schedule included Bowdoin, Southern
Maine, Bates, and Brandeis. Although the Jumbos went 0-4 against those
opponents, the Jumbos proved they are confident enough to take on any team.
fact, the 58-45 loss against Bowdoin and the playoff game against Williams were
the Jumbos only two losses at home all season. Cousens Gymnasium almost turned
into a graveyard for opposing teams as the Jumbos finished the year 9-2 at home.
falling to top-ranked Bowdoin on February 6, Tufts ran off five straight
victories before losing to Williams to end its season. Despite its disappointing
ending, 2003-04 was another big step in the right direction for the oncoming
Tufts women's basketball team.