Teams: Women's Basketball: Press
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SET TO HOST NESCAC TOURNAMENT GAME
|Taryn Miller-Stevens, third in NESCAC in
assists, has had a strong senior season for the Jumbos
MEDFORD -- By virtue of its 8-1 finish during the New
England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) season, the Tufts
University women's basketball team earned the #2 seed in the
conference tournament and will host #7 seed Middlebury College in
the first round on Saturday (February 17) at 3:00 pm. The game is
available live on JumboCast at
The Jumbos enter the post-season with a 16-7 record, the most wins
by the team since its 18-6 finish three years ago in 2003-04. The 8-1 NESCAC mark is the team's best since the conference started playing
a round robin schedule in the 2001-02 season. Tufts will host a
first round game for just the second time in seven conference
tournaments. They were the fourth seed in 2004 after a 7-2
conference record, but lost to Williams in the first round.
The Jumbos won big conference games this season against Bates
(72-64), Wesleyan (60-58) and Williams (58-53). All three rivals had
finished among the top four in NESCAC during both the 2004-05 and
2005-06 seasons. Those three teams joined Bowdoin as NCAA Tournament
selections last season. The Jumbos also had good non-conference
victories against Endicott, Western New England, Salem State and
Worcester State this season.
All of Tufts' seven losses this season have come against teams with
winning percentages well over 66.7 percent. Three of the defeats
were against teams from Fitchburg State, Emmanuel and Bowdoin that
have lost only once all season. The combined record of the seven
teams who have defeated the Jumbos is 130-27, a remarkable .828
The Jumbos have improved individually and as a group from last year,
when they finished 10-13 overall and were 3-6 in the league. They
were led in scoring this year by guard Valerie Krah (Mountain Lakes,
NJ/Mountain Lakes) in her senior season with 14.2 points per
game, which is seventh overall in the conference. She became the
team's all-time leader in three-pointers this season and has 44
overall this year, fourth in the league. Her three-pointer with nine seconds
left was the winning basketball against Wesleyan.
Senior point guard Taryn Miller-Stevens (Avon, CT/Avon) is
having her best season, and enters the tournament third in NESCAC
with 4.39 assists per game. Senior co-captains Laura Jasinski (Leverett,
MA/Amherst) and Libby Park (Massena, NY/Massena Central)
are a formidable duo in the frontcourt. Jasinski is averaging 6.8
ppg and 6.5 rpg, while Park is at 4.9 ppg and 5.2 rpg with 34 blocks
that ranks her fifth in NESCAC. The Jumbos lead NESCAC in blocked
shots with 114 and are second both with a +4.7 rebound margin and a
.348 field goal percentage defense.
The 2006-07 season has also seen the emergence of juniors
Khalilah Ummah (Litchfield, Me/Waynflete Academy) and Jenna
Gomez (Norfolk, MA/Noble & Greenough) as key contributors. Ummah,
a two-time NESCAC Player of the Week, is averaging 10.5 points and
6.9 rebounds per game. Gomez is scoring 9.3 ppg while averaging 5.6
rebounds. She, Krah and Miller-Stevens are all among the NESCAC top
seven in steals per game. Sophomore Kim Moynihan (West Hartford, CT/Hall) has
also made great strides and is second on the team with 14
three-pointers to go with 5.5 ppg and 3.6 rpg.
Those seven players are averaging more than 18 minutes per game for
Tufts, led by Miller-Stevens at 31.2 minutes per game and Jasinski
at 30.2. Sophomore Stacy Filocco (Olney, MD/Good Counsel) and
freshman Julia Baily (Farmington, CT/Miss Porter's School)
have logged the most minutes among the other reserves.
The Jumbos clinched a home berth in the NESCAC Tournament with a
61-50 victory over Middlebury on February 2. Krah scored a
career-high 21 points, breaking the team's career record for
three-pointers in the process. Tufts stormed to a 26-6 lead in the
first half and withstood a Middlebury comeback attempt in the second
half to record the win.
Tufts has yet to win a game in the NESCAC Tournament, posting a 0-5
record. As the seventh seed in 2001, they lost to Colby 65-54 in the
first round. After failing to qualify in 2002, they were the sixth
seed in 2003 and lost to Bates in the first round, 80-59. The loss
to Williams in 2004 was followed by a 61-37 loss at Bates as the
seventh seed in 2005. Last year they were the seventh seed and lost
at Bowdoin, 52-41.
The Panthers are making their sixth NESCAC Tournament appearance.
They are 2-5 overall, falling in the first round three times, while
advancing to the 2002 title game. Middlebury has also used the same
starting five for all 24 games this season. Sophomore Emily Johnson
is their leading scorer with 12.6 ppg. Junior Lani Young has been a
force on the boards for the Panthers. She leads the team with 8.4
per game, putting her third among her NESCAC peers.