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basketball-women-d3 flag | February 15, 2014

DIII: No. 6 Washington (Mo.) defeats Brandeis

WALTHAM, Mass -- In a grind-it-out, sometimes sloppy, and very physical contest, sixth-ranked Washington (Mo.) snapped the Brandeis six-game winning streak at Red Auerbach Arena 61-51. The Bears improve to 19-2, 9-1 in the University Athletic Association (UAA) while the Judges fall to 12-9, 6-4 in the UAA.

The game opened up with four missed shots and five turnovers in the first 2 1/2 minutes before WashU’s junior guard Maddy Scheppers hit a 3-pointer from the left wing. The Bears would push their lead to 5-0 on a layup by senior forward Jordan Rettig but that would be their largest, and only, advantage of the period. Brandeis’ senior guard Kasey Dean got the Judges on the board with a put-back of her own missed jumper, sparking a 15-2 run during the next 4 1/2 minutes. Rookie guard Paris Hodges capped the surge with a trifecta at the 12:03 mark to give Brandeis a 15-7 lead.

In the second half, the fouls piled up as the Judges were called for seven fouls before five minutes had even come off the clock. Both Dean and rookie forward Maria Jackson were forced out of the game with four fouls apiece. At the time, the Bears led 30-28 but once Dean and Jackson headed to the bench, WashU embarked on a 9-2 run that gave them their largest lead of the contest with 9:57 remaining in the game, 39-30. From there, Brandeis would get no closer than five points. With 8:38 to play, a layup by senior center Angela Miller made it 39-34. The Judges cut it back down to five for the last time with 6:26 on the clock when senior guard Janelle Rodriguez drained a long trifecta to make it 42-37. After that basket, WashU put the contest to bed with an 8-0 surge and Brandeis was unable to cut the lead to single digits the rest of the way.

No. 2 Whitman 51, No. 7 George Fox 46

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Opponents have tested Whitman's patience, its execution, its footwork, its skill, its shooting.

None had tested the Missionaries toughness like George Fox did Friday in a quarry rumble between nationally-ranked Northwest Conference rivals.

Whitman passed that test, too. The Missionaries played suffocating defense in the final three decisive minutes to turn away seventh-ranked George Fox 51-46 and remain undefeated.

Whitman clinched a berth in the conference tournament and cleared the most significant remaining hurdle between it and a regular-season conference championship, a trinket which has eluded the Missionaries since the 2003-04 season.

Whitman (22-0, 12-0 in league) opened a two-game lead against George Fox (19-2, 10-2) and Whitworth for second place in the conference with three games remaining.

The win Friday was "a grinder," Missionaries head coach Michelle Ferenz said, and it was the visiting Bruins --- long, quick, physical -- who made it that way. Whitman struggled mightily against George Fox's full-court pressure and was a faint shadow of itself in terms of halfcourt execution.

But Whitman found a way to overcome uncharacteristic sloppiness with the ball (24 turnovers) and shakiness from the floor (15-of-45 shooting 33 percent).

No. 5 Tufts 54, Colby 33

MEDFORD, Mass. -- Tufts clinched the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NESCAC Championship tournament with a 54-33 victory against Colby on Friday night at Cousens Gym.

Head coach Carla Berube's Jumbos (22-1) will be the No. 1 seed for the second consecutive season. Last year they won a tie-breaker to earn the spot. This year they did it with a 9-0 NESCAC record heading into the conference finale Saturday afternoon at home against Bowdoin, who they will play for a perfect conference mark.

Tufts pulled away from a pesky Colby squad on Friday, out-scoring the Mules 32-13 in the second half. First-year Michela North led Tufts with 15 points, making 6 of 9 shots and adding three free throws. She was one of five Jumbos to grab six rebounds. Junior Hayley Kanner finished with 14 points to go with six rebounds and three blocks.

Colby, which had a one-point lead early in the second half, dropped to 7-16 overall and 1-8 in the league. The visitors were led by 10 points from Gabe Donahue, who made 4 of 5 shots and also had five rebounds. Mia Diplock added seven points with three assists, while Desi Smith recorded five points and eight rebounds.