Basketball Glory

Three-pointer at overtime buzzer lifts women’s hoops in NCAAs; Tufts will host sectionals March 14–15

In an epic NCAA championship second-round matchup between a pair of 27-win teams, Tufts senior tri-captain Liz Moynihan hit a desperation, line-drive three-pointer at the overtime buzzer to give the Jumbos a 57–54 victory over the University of New England on March 8 at Cousens Gym.

With the game tied at 54–54 in OT, UNE’s Alicia Brown rebounded a Tufts free-throw miss, and the Nor’Easters had a chance to take the lead. However, after a timeout, they turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation. With 4.6 seconds remaining in overtime, junior forward Hayley Kanner inbounded the ball to Moynihan at center court. Moynihan darted to the top of the three-point line and sank the shot for the dramatic victory.

Tufts (28–1) advances to the NCAA sectional round of 16 for the third straight season. On Friday, the Jumbos will face Castleton at home; the Spartans defeated Plattsburgh State in the NCAA second round at Bowdoin. Tufts will host the sectionals on March 14 and 15.

UNE, with a game-high 19 points from sophomore Meghan Gribbin, ended its season in heartbreaking fashion, with a 27–3 mark.

The visiting Nor’Easters held a 48–44 lead with 2:48 remaining in regulation after a layup by Lauren Hayden. Kanner came up huge for the Jumbos down the stretch. Her drive to the hoop pulled Tufts to within two with 1:37 left in the second half. She then swished two free throws with 30 seconds on the clock to tie the score at 48–48.

Just as they did in overtime, the Nor’Easters had the ball with a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds of regulation play. With tight pressure in the lane, junior co-captain Kelly Coleman’s shot was blocked by Kanner, and the game went into overtime.

Watch Liz Moynihan's game-winning shot

In the extra session, a pair of free throws by Coleman gave UNE a 52–51 advantage with 2:43 on the clock. A jumper by Gribbin put the Nor’Easters up 54–51 with 1:39 remaining. Two Jumbo offensive rebounds by Kanner and Moynihan led to a three-pointer by junior Kelsey Morehead with 1:18 remaining in OT to tie the score at 54–54. That set up the dramatic finish.

In regulation, Tufts scored the first eight points of the game, including a pair of jumpers by senior tri-captain Ali Rocchi. The 8–0 lead was the Jumbos’ largest margin of the game. UNE responded with a 13–4 run, featuring five points by Gribbin and four by Coleman to take a 13–12 lead with 6:40 to go until halftime. The Jumbos led 20–19 at intermission.

Three-pointers by senior tri-captain Caitlin McClure and Morehead gave Tufts a 26–21 advantage early in the second half. That would be the largest margin of the period. UNE came back to tie the score at 31–31 on a Hayden layup. Over the next seven minutes, Tufts twice took four-point leads, including 41–37 following two free throws by Kanner with 8:44 on the clock. The Nor’Easters again had an answer, tying it at 41–41 with Coleman’s three-pointer.

A Gribbin three-pointer put UNE up 44–43 at 6:30, and they would hold a slight advantage until Kanner scored the final four points of regulation to send the game to OT.

Kanner led the Jumbos with an impressive double-double of 16 points and 17 rebounds to go with five blocks. McClure chipped in with 10 points, while Morehead added nine points, six assists and five rebounds; she played all 45 minutes. Tufts was plus-nine in rebounds (46–37) with first-year Michela North adding eight to go with her seven points.

Hayden had 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Nor’Easters. Coleman finished with nine points, five rebounds and four assists.

On March 7, the Jumbos established a new school record for victories with a 66–43 win over St. Joseph’s College of Maine at Cousens Gym. Head coach Carla Berube’s Jumbos improved to 27–1, surpassing the 2007–08 Tufts team’s 26 wins.

Read more Tufts sports news at the Athletics Department website, including updates on men's and women's track and field team members heading to the NCAAs and four Jumbos going to the NCAA men's swimming and diving championships in Indiannapolis.

Tufts Sports Information Director Paul Sweeney can be reached at

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