Back to the Sweet Sixteen

Women’s basketball sweep NCAA first round games at home, and head to Scranton

Melissa Baptista takes a shot in a Tufts basketball game

The Tufts women’s basketball team has advanced to the third round, or Sweet Sixteen, of the NCAA tournament for the seventh year in a row.

The Jumbos (25-4) opened the NCAA tournament hosting the first two rounds at Cousens Gym. They defeated Westfield State 71-54 on March 2, and then bested Ithaca College 61-39 in the second round the next day.

Tufts next faces Messiah College (27-2) in the Round of 16 on March 9. The Falcons are two-time MAC Commonwealth Conference defending champions, and will come into the match with the Jumbos riding a thirteen-game winning streak. The game will be played at the University of Scranton (28-1), which is facing off against Bowdoin (26-2) the same day. The winners of the two games will face off March 10 in the Round of Eight, with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

The Tufts bench cheers on their teammates in the game against Ithaca College on March 3. Photo: Alonso NicholsThe Tufts bench cheers on their teammates in the game against Ithaca College on March 3. Photo: Alonso Nichols
In the March 3 match against Ithaca College, the Jumbos were led by Melissa Baptista who recorded nineteen points, six rebounds, four blocks, and two steals. Katie Martensen had a career-high twelve points and added five rebounds and a steal as well. Jac Knapp ended up with seven points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Lauren Dillon, who finished the night with four points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals, became the Jumbos’ all-time leader in steals in a career with 260. The old record holder Lisa Raffin, who has held the record since 1984 and is being inducted into the inaugural class of the Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame, had 257. Dillon was already the all-time leader in career assists before the start of this season.

Curtis Stoychoff is the Athletic Communications intern.

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