MEDFORD, Mas.. -- Host Tufts advanced to the second round of the NCAA Div. III women's basketball championship and established a new school record for victories with a 66-43 win against St. Joseph's (Maine) on Friday night at Cousens Gym.
Head coach Carla Berube's Jumbos improved to 27-1, surpassing the 2007-08 Tufts team's 26 wins in the record book.
The Jumbos won their NCAA opener at home for the third consecutive year. Junior point guard Kelsey Morehead led Tufts with 17 points and four assists, while classmate Hayley Kanner finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and five steals.
St. Joseph's, making its first appearance in the NCAA championship, was led by 22 points and seven rebounds from Morgan Cahill. Abby Young added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Monks, who finished their season at 23-6.
Young scored the game's first basket for the Monks and it would be their only lead of the contest. The score was tied 8-8 at the 15-minute mark following another basket by Young. A jumper by Liz Moynihan at 14:30 gave the hosts the lead for good at 10-8.
The Monks hung around for most of the first half and were down just three 20-17 on a three-pointer by Mackenzie Dufour at 5:24 of the first half. Tufts would finish the half on a 13-2 run spanning almost five minutes to take control of the game. Kanner and Moynihan both had four points during the stretch and Tufts led 38-21 at intermission.
Kanner had all 16 of her points and each of her five blocks in the opening 20 minutes. Moynihan had eight at the break. The Jumbos held the Monks to just 8 for 24 shooting (33.3 percent) and forced 15 turnovers.
Young had 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks at the half for St. Joseph's.
The Jumbos scored the first eight points of the second half, five by Morehead, to lead by 25 (46-21) with 16:27 on the clock. The Tufts lead would stay in the high teens or low 20s for the remainder of the game. The closest St. Joseph's would get was 15, 58-43, following Young's lay-up with 3:53 remaining in regulation.
Only three players scored in the game for the Monks. In addition to Cahill and Young, Mackenzie Dufour had three points. The Jumbos held the visitors to 33.3 percent shooting overall (13/39) and out-rebounded them 35-28.
Abbie Eastman finished with three assists for the Monks, while Theresa Hendrix had three steals. St. Joseph's went 16 for 18 at the line (88.9 percent), including 10 for 12 by Cahill.
First-year Michela North finished with six points, five rebounds and two steals off the bench for Tufts. Senior Ali Rocchi joined Moynihan with eight points while also dishing out two assists. The Jumbos made nine of 22 threes (40.9 percent).