MEDFORD, Mass. — In one of its finest defensive efforts of the season, Tufts advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 with a 53-35 victory against Babson in the second round on Saturday night at Cousens Gym.
The Jumbos, 25-2 overall, will face NESCAC rival Amherst. Babson, which was making its fifth consecutive NCAA appearance, finished the season at 26-3.
Tufts was the second-ranked defensive team in the nation entering the weekend, allowing 43.4 points per game. Babson made just nine field goals in the game on 36 attempts for a .250 field goal percentage.
Sophomore Hannah Foley scored 18 points to lead Tufts, which was also held to a low .286 shooting percentage (16 of 56) by the Beavers. Sophomore Hayley Kanner added 11 points to help the Jumbos advance for the second year in a row and for the third time overall.
Babson senior Sarah Collins posted game highs of 20 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks, along with three steals. She scored 57 percent of Babson’s points.
Leading 12-11 in the middle of the first half, the Jumbos opened up the margin with a 14-4 run spanning five minutes to take a 26-15 lead with 5:14 left until intermission. Kate Barnosky started the stretch with a 3-pointer. Kanner then drained her second three in as many nights, and the second of her career, as part of her five points during the run. Foley contributed four.
Foley had 12 points at the half (5-for-5 at the line) with Tufts leading 29-19. Kanner added nine points for the Jumbos. Collins recorded nine points, six rebounds and three blocks in the first 20 minutes for Babson.
Tufts pushed its advantage to 34-19 in the opening minute of the second half on five points by senior Bre Dufault. Babson cut the margin to 11 points twice, including 36-25 after a layup by Collins at the 12-minute mark. However, the Jumbos scored the next nine points, including a 3-pointer by Dufault, and the lead reached 20 points (45-25) with 6:39 remaining in the second half. Babson got within 16 after a pair of Collins free throws made it 45-29, but Foley hit another 3-pointer to seal the victory.
Kelsey Morehead had six points, four rebounds and three assists. Dufault finished with eight points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks, while Barnosky posted team highs of 10 rebounds and four assists. Foley was 3-for-4 from 3-point territory.
Babson’s Linnett Graber recorded four points and five rebounds. The Beavers finished with a total of nine blocks. Freshman Kristen Ferola added seven boards as Babson finished with a 37-36 rebounding edge.
In two games this weekend, the Jumbos allowed a total of 67 points and .256 field goal pecentage (20/78).