Athletics

Jeffs Fall Short Against No. 6 Tufts, 63-56

GiddinsSKID2.jpgContact: Ben Badua

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MEDFORD, Mass. - The third-ranked Amherst women’s basketball team suffered its first setback of the 2013-14 season with a hard-fought 63-56 loss to sixth-ranked Tufts University at Cousens Gymnasium.

Just Amherst’s second conference defeat since 2009, the Jeffs fell to 14-1 (2-1 NESCAC) on the season. Remaining unbeaten at 13-0 (2-0 NESCAC), the Jumbos notched their first victory over their league rivals since the 2006-07 campaign.

Marley Giddins ’16 paced Amherst with 13 points and six rebounds, while Haley Zwecker ’16 was the only other Jeff in double-digit scoring, chipping in with 11 off the bench. Ali Doswell ’17 and Cheyenne Pritchard ’17 had eight points apiece, while Savannah Holness ’15 pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds.

Knocking down its first two shot attempts, Amherst jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the first minute and a half of action. Trailing 8-4, Tufts scored 14 unanswered over a span of 4:51, building an 18-8 cushion on a Kelsey Morehead ’15 layup inside of the nine minute mark.

Giddins ended Amherst’s scoreless streak with a free throw at 8:06 to bring the Jeffs back within single digits. Down by as much as 12 after a Hayley Kanner ’15 bucket at 5:21, the visitors closed out the half on a 16-4 run. Giddins got the rally started by connecting on a pair from the charity stripe before Doswell drained a three-pointer that ended a nearly 10-minute Jeff field goal drought.

Kanner and Michela North ’17 combined to score four of the game’s next six points, but Amherst responded by tallying the last nine points of the frame. Giddins was once again the catalyst, driving the lane for two at 2:57. The sophomore then connected down low before a Pritchard trey pulled the Purple & White within two at 25-23. Doswell capped off the run with a bucket with 24 seconds left before the intermission.

Trailing 31-30 with 17:18 to go in the second, Zwecker found the range from long distance, giving the visitors their first lead since the 12:43 mark of the first half. With Amherst extending the margin to 41-37 midway through the period, Tufts strung together a 10-2 run. Liz Moynihan ’14 got things going with five-straight points before a Kanner jumper gave the Jumbos a three-point edge.

Zwecker momentarily stemmed the tide with a couple of free throws at 8:22, but the home team tallied the next three points to go up 47-43. Battling back, Amherst pulled back in front on a Holness layup at 5:46, but North converted a three-point play the old-fashioned way to help Tufts regain the advantage.

After Emma Roberson ’16 put the home team ahead 53-52 at 4:27, Moynihan drilled another triple to suddenly stake the Jumbos to a four-point edge. Roberson then hit a pair from the line to pad the cushion. Hoping to put together a late rally, Amherst got as close as four thanks to a Hannah Peterson ’17 three-pointer with 27 seconds left, but Tufts connected on 3-of-4 from the free line down the stretch to seal the win.

Kanner led all scorers with 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, while Moynihan had 17 points and seven rebounds. North and Hannah Foley ’15 added nine and eight points, respectively.

Amherst will look to break back into the win column on Saturday, Jan. 18 at Bates.