March 6, 2009

Courtesy of Tufts

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Sophomore guard Colleen Hart (Needham, MA) led four Tufts University players in double figures with 16 points to lead the 15th-ranked Jumbos to an 80-70 victory over host Moravian College in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament in Johnston Hall Friday evening.

Tufts improves to 22-4 overall and will play The College of New Jersey in the second round on Saturday, March 7th at 7:00 pm in Johnston Hall. The Greyhounds complete the season at 21-7 overall after dropping their first home game of the season. Moravian had been 14-0 in Johnston Hall, and saw a perfect home season snapped for the fourth time in school history in the postseason.

The Greyhounds took a 2-0 lead at the 18:33 mark on a jumper from junior guard Jessica Foran (Annandale, NJ). However, Moravian would not score again until the 14:21 mark. The Jumbos would run off 12 straight points during that four-minute stretch with Hart hitting a pair of three-pointers. Moravian closed within four points, 12-8, after a pair of free throws from sophomore guard/forward Emily Smith (East Stroudsburg, PA) at 12:39. Tufts pushed the lead back to ten points, 22-12, on a jumper by freshman guard Tiffany Kornegay (Carver, MA) with 8:08 remaining in the first half.

Moravian then went on a 10-2 run to pull within two points, 24-22, on a pair of free throws from junior forward Alyssa Bisci (Easton, PA) with 5:07 to play until the intermission. That would be the closest the Greyhounds would get the remainder of the game as the Jumbos finished the half with a 13-5 run to head to the locker room with a 38-27 lead after a three-point play by junior forward Julia Baily (Farmington, CT) with 36 seconds remaining in the half.

The Jumbos connected on 16 of 39 field goal attempts (41.0 percent), two of eight three-pointers and four of five three throws in the first 20 minutes, and Tufts dominated the boards in the first half, holding a 32-17 advantage in rebounds including 11 offensive rebounds. Moravian struggled shooting the ball in the first 20 minutes, making just nine of 34 field goal attempts (26.5 percent), two of six three-pointers and seven of nine free throws. The Greyhounds committed eight turnovers in the first half while forcing Tufts into 11 turnovers.

Moravian made a brief run to start the second half, pulling within 39-33 on a jumper from junior forward Kirsty Stearns (East Norwich, NY) at the 17:48 mark. The Greyhounds were down 41-35 after a Foran jumper with 17:20 left. However, Tufts would go on a 10-2 run with four points from Hart and four points from senior guard/forward Kim Moynihan (West Hartford, CT) to take a 51-37 lead with 14:33 remaining.

The Jumbos would eventually push their lead to 18 points on four occasions, the final time at 75-57 with 3:08 to play after a Kornegay lay-up. Moravian scored 13 of the next 16 points in the game to pull within 78-70 with just 14 seconds remaining on a three-pointer from junior forward Alyson Steltz (Emmaus, PA).

Tufts shot the ball even better from the floor in the second half, making 16 of 25 field goal attempts (64.0 percent) and two of three three-pointers in the final 20 minutes. The Jumbos were just eight of 17 at the foul line in the second half, but Tufts finished the game with a 56-35 advantage in rebounds including 41-21 on the defensive boards.

Moravian shot the ball a little better in the second half, connecting on 13 of 39 field goal attempts (33.3 percent), three of 11 three-pointers and 14 of 16 free throws. The Greyhounds had just 17 turnovers for the game while Tufts committed 27 turnovers. Moravian's 30.1 shooting percentage for the game was the team's second lowest of the season and worst game of the year at home.

One bright spot for the Greyhounds was at the foul line where the team was 21 of 25 for the game, 84.0 percent. Moravian entered the game as the top free throw shooting team in the nation and finished the season as just the third team in NCAA Division III history to shoot over 80 percent for the season. The Greyhounds were 564 for 702 for the season, 80.3 percent, and Moravian made 28 more free throws than its opponents attempted.

Hart had five rebounds and four assists to go with her 16 points to lead the Jumbos. Moynihan added 13 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists while senior forward Katie Tausanovitch (Lyme, NH) had 13 points and six boards. Baily finished with 12 rebounds and ten points while Kornegay had eight points and three assists for Tufts. Freshman guard/forward Rachel Figaro (Windham, NH) had seven rebounds, five points and three steals off the bench for the Jumbos with junior guard Vanessa Miller (Cincinnati, OH) adding four points and four assists.

Stearns tossed in a game high 17 points to lead the Greyhounds, and she added eight rebounds and two assists while Bisci had 15 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard/forward Amy Heffner (Schnecksville, PA) added 11 points and eight rebounds off of the Moravian bench while Foran and junior guard/forward Kate Harrison (Cold Spring Harbor, NY) each scored eight points with Foran dishing out five assists and grabbing three steals. Smith had four points for Moravian off of the bench.