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Monday, March 1, 2010


Junior tri-captain Vanessa Miller is one of six Jumbos who will appear in their third NCAA Tournament

MEDFORD -- For the third straight year, the Tufts University women's basketball team has earned an at-large invitation into the NCAA Division III Tournament. Coach Carla Berube's Jumbos were sent out-of-region to the Kean, New Jersey bracket, where they will play Muhlenberg College in the first round on Friday night. The game will start at 6 pm.

Tufts was one of five NESCAC teams to earn NCAA berths. Twelve New England teams made the field overall. Tufts and Williams were the only two of the 12 to be sent out of region. Ranked #25 in the last poll, Tufts (20-5) plays the #22 Muhlenberg Mules (21-5). The host Kean Cougars (26-1), ranked #2 by D3Hoops, plays the unranked Penn State-Berks Nittany Lions (19-9) in the other first-round game at 8 pm. Friday night's winners will play in the second round on Saturday (Mar. 6) at 6 pm.

Playing out-of-region is nothing new to the Jumbos. Due to the old court at Cousens Gymnasium being too short to host NCAA Tournament games, the Jumbos have played three NCAA Tournament weekends outside of New England. They went to Mount St. Mary's in New York and to Messiah in Pennsylvania in 2008, and to Moravian in Pennsylvania. This season, although their home gym was remodeled to accommodate a regulation-length court, Tufts will travel to New Jersey.

The Jumbos are 4-2 in NCAA Tournament play. In 2008, they opened with a 71-67 victory against Wheaton College and then won the regional with a 54-38 victory against Mount St. Mary. At the "Sweet 16," they defeated Mary Washington 48-45 before they were eliminated by Messiah 55-49. Last season, they won their opener against Moravian 80-70 before losing to The College of New Jersey in the second round 57-55.

Muhlenberg fell to McDaniel College for the Centennial Conference title, and is one of three Centennial schools to earn a bid to the tournament. The Mules, who had won the conference title the previous two years, will compete in the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in school history and for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Tufts features the top two scorers in the NESCAC. Junior guard Colleen Hart (Needham, MA) averages 16.6 points per game. Her 72 three-pointers are 13 more than anyone else in the league. Senior Julia Baily (Farmington, CT) is at 15.6 ppg for second in NESCAC. Sophomore guard Tiffany Kornegay (Carver, MA) is just outside of the top 10 scorers with an 11.8 average. Baily is the conference's second-best rebounder with an average of 9.1 per game, while sophomore Kate Barnosky (Huntington Station, NY) has a 6.4 average on the boards. Junior guard Vanessa Miller (Cincinnati, OH) leads the conference with 81 steals. Baily's 1.32 blocks per game are seventh-best in NESCAC.

2010 NCAA Div. III Women's Basketball Tournament bracket

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Visit the Tufts / Muhlenberg / Kean / Penn State Berks women's basketball websites.