MEDFORD - The Tufts Women's Basketball team held visiting Colby College to just 13 points in the first half and rolled to a 62-42 win over the Mules in the NESCAC Championship Semi-finals at Cousens Gym Saturday afternoon.
The Jumbos advance to the conference final for the third straight year. Tufts (23-2) will host Amherst (25-1) in the NESCAC championship game on Sunday at noon.
Sophomore Melissa Baptista scored 14 points and junior Michela North had 13 with eight rebounds as Tufts won its 18th straight game overall and 31st in a row at home. The Jumbos will be playing in their sixth conference final and will be looking to win their third straight championship.
Colby saw its season come to a close with a 15-11 record. They were led today by 14 points from senior Carylanne Wolfington. Sophomore Hayley Driscott added 10 points.
After taking a 20-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, Tufts nearly shut out Colby in the second quarter. The Mules scored their only two points of the period when Wolfington knocked down a pair of free throws after she was fouled as time expired. Tufts outscored the Mules 15-2 in the second quarter and led 35-13 at the half.
The Jumbos never trailed in the game. They surged to a 15-4 lead as North dominated early. She scored eight points in the first 7:45 of the game. The Mules saved it from getting away from them early as Driscoll scored four of their seven points down the stretch to pull them within 20-11 at the first-period break.
Colby would not score a field goal in the second quarter. They missed all 12 of their shots and turned the ball over seven times. Tufts senior tri-captain Emma Roberson had seven second-quarter points for Tufts and the Jumbos led by 22 at the halftime intermission. North had 12 in the half for Tufts while Driscoll scored eight for Colby.
The Mules would out-score Tufts 29-27 in the second half, but never got closer than 17 points. They were down 35-18 after scoring the first five points of the second half on a three by junior MaryKate Caverly and a jumper by senior Mia Diplock. However, Tufts answered with the next five and weren't threatened over the remainder of the game.
Roberson finished with nine points, six steals, five rebounds, and two assists for Tufts, while sophomore Lauren Dillon had seven points and six assists. The Jumbos had one of their better shooting days of the season at 47.9 percent (23/48). They made six of their nine three-point attempts and were 10 for 11 from the line.
Diplock had five assists for the Mules to go with six points. Caverly finished at five points and five rebounds. Colby shot 31.1 percent (14/45) including three for 17 (17.6) on threes.
Sunday will be the third meeting between Tufts and Amherst in the conference final. Tufts won their first NESCAC crown in 2014 with a 62-46 win over Amherst. The Purple & White, who have won five league titles, topped Tufts 59-53 in the 2008 final.