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NCAA Div. III Tournament 1st Round
Tufts 71, Wheaton (MA) 67

At Newburgh, NY
Friday, March 7, 2008

Game Statistics

Senior co-captain Khalilah Ummah has scored 20 or more points in four of the last six games

NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- The Tufts University women's basketball team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 71-67 victory over Wheaton College in a first-round game hosted by Mount St. Mary College on Friday night. The Jumbos (24-3), making their first NCAA Tournament appearance, will play host Mount St. Mary on Saturday at 5:00 pm.

Senior co-captain Khalilah Ummah (Litchfield, ME) continued her recent string of dominant performances in the post, leading Tufts over Wheaton with 24 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. She scored on 12 of 22 shots. Tufts had four players score in double digits overall, including 12 each by first-year point guard Colleen Hart (Needham, MA) and sophomore Julia Baily (Farmington, CT). Senior co-captain Jenna Gomez (Norfolk, MA) added 11 points, five rebounds and three steals. 

Tufts led Wheaton 35-28 at halftime after Wheaton had owned a small lead earlier in the first half. The Lyons were up 12-8 following a three-pointer by Becky Aitchison at the 15-minute mark of the first half. The Jumbos erased that and took the lead for good with a 10-0 run featuring six points by Ummah. The Jumbo lead was 18-12 at 18:18 after a lay-up by Ummah. They pushed the margin up to 13 points, 35-22, with 1:30 left before Wheaton finished the half with three-pointers by Jenny Champney and Krystin Hickey. Ummah had 12 points and six boards at the break for Tufts, while Champney led Wheaton with nine points.

The Jumbos expanded the halftime margin to double-digits five minutes into the second half. A lay-up by Gomez at 14:33 made it 47-34 Jumbos, and a three-pointer by junior Kim Moynihan (West Hartford, CT) had Tufts up 56-42 at the 10-minute mark. Over the next four minutes, the Lyons battled back with a 13-4 run that brought them with 60-55 at 5:54. Eight of those points were scored at the line, including four by Ida Kruse.

Jumpers by Bailey and Hickey put the score at 62-57 Tufts, setting up a tight finish. The next seven points were scored at the free throw line by both teams, adding up to a 66-60 Tufts advantage with 2:25 to play. After Wheaton's Jennie Pleat scored to close the Lyons within 66-62 at1:18, Tufts junior Katie Tausanovitch (Lyme, NY) rebounded a Moynihan miss for a lay-up and a 68-62 lead with 30 seconds on the clock. At the other end though, Hickey had a traditional three-point play that made it a one-possession game at 68-65 with 24 seconds left. Hart, the NESCAC leader in free throw percentage at 89.8 entering the game, sank two freebies at the other end with 17 seconds to play for a 70-65 edge. A Wheaton miss with a rebound and free throw from Tufts sophomore Vanessa Miller (Cincinnati, OH) brought the Jumbos to victory lane.

The game was a lot tighter than the team's regular-season contest on January 22. That night, Tufts limited the Lyons to just eight second-half points while posting a 61-36 non-conference victory. This time around the Lyons put up a good fight, but had their season ended with a 22-7 record. Hickey led the Lyons with 19 points and six rebounds.  Champney recorded 12 points, while Pleat, Bri Smith and Andrea Bailey each had eight.

Tufts, ranked second nationally in rebound margin, won the battle of the boards 44-33. Moynihan tallied six to go with four assists. Hart also had four assists for the winners, who will play a Mt. St. Mary team in the second round that posted a 75-62 win over Albright in Friday's other first-round match-up. The Tufts-Mt. St. Mary winner will advance to the NCAA "Sweet 16."