Amherst Tops Tufts 49-46; Will Play Bowdoin for Second Straight NESCAC Crown

From a Bowdoin release

Jaci Daigneault scored a career-high 23 points.
BRUNSWICK, Maine - The defending NESCAC Champion Amherst women's basketball team survived a defensive struggle, and got a career-high 23 points from Jaci Daigneault (Guilford, CT) in a 49-46 win over Tufts University on Saturday. The Jeffs (25-1) will take on Bowdoin at 1:00 p.m. Sunday in the NESCAC title game. Tufts (21-4) will hope for an NCAA Tournament bid when the field is announced on Sunday evening.

Neither team could find a rhythm in the first half as the squads combined to hit just 11 of 48 shots (22.9%) in the opening stanza. After Tufts' Rachel Figaro hit a three-pointer to trim Amherst's lead to 12-10 with 9:52 to go in the period, the Jumbos went cold. Tufts would not score again until 2:04 was remaining in the half when Kate Barnosky connected from downtown. Meanwhile, Amherst struggled as well, but
managed to extend their lead to nine points and settled for a six-point edge, 21-15 at the break. The teams combined for 30 turnovers in the half.

Both teams found their stride in the second period and the game became a back-and-forth affair. The Jumbos opened the second half with a 7-0 run and took a brief 22-21 lead before Amherst rebounded with a run of their own. Sparked by a Stacy Brossy (Lukachukai, AZ) three-pointer, Amherst rolled off an 11-0 run to take a ten point lead, 36-26, with 12:08 to go. Moments later, Tufts bounced back with a 9-0 surge, capped by a three-pointer and lay-in from Kim Moynihan to deadlock the score at 39 apiece with six minutes to go.

The teams swapped buckets down the stretch, and Tufts had a chance to take the lead with under a minute to play, but a missed jumper by Julia Baily was collected by Kim Fiorentino (Holmdel, NJ). Down at the other end, Fiorentino connected on a three-pointer from the top of the key to give Amherst the last lead of the game. Neither team would score again as Amherst clung to victory.

Moynihan led Tufts with 16 points while Casey Sullivan added seven. Amherst has beaten Tufts four straight times, including last year's NESCAC Championship game.