|Tufts is the #1 defensive
team in the country allowing just 43 points per
MEDFORD - First things first. Both teams play on Friday night. The Tufts women's basketball team is at Trinity College (13-6/4-2 NESCAC) and Amherst College hosts Bates College (10-9/3-4).
Safe to say, neither the Jumbos nor the Lord Jeffs will be overlooking their opponents on Friday night. However, fans of Division III women's basketball clearly have their sights set on Saturday's Tufts at Amherst match-up which tips off at 4 pm.
Tufts enters the weekend at 21-0 overall and 7-0 NESCAC. Amherst brings a 20-0 overall record and 6-0 mark in the league into the Bates game. At the moment, they are two of four undefeated Div. III teams in the country. If both teams can take care of business on Friday night, first place in NESCAC is on the line Saturday afternoon.
Both teams are in the upper echelon of the two NCAA Div. III women's basketball polls. Amherst is #4 and Tufts is #5 in the D3hoops.com rankings. In the USA Today Coaches' poll, the Lord Jeffs are third and the Jumbos are fourth.
Regardless of Saturday's results, there is a good chance the teams will meet again in the post-season. Amherst has won three straight and four of the last five NESCAC titles. Tufts has been on the verge since 2007, but does not yet own a conference title. Amherst defeated Tufts in last year's conference championship game and also in the 2008 final.
Tufts is #1 in the country in scoring defense (points allowed) at 43.0 per game as of January 27. They are also fourth in the nation for ball control, turning it over just 12.8 times per game. Amherst is also strong defensively, allowing 48.4 points per game to rank 16th.
In an interesting sidelight to Saturday's contest, Tufts two-year captain Bre Dufault and Amherst tri-captain Bridget Crowley are best friends. They are both from Hampden, MA and went to Minnechaug Regional HS. Both significant contributors to their teams, they will put their friendship aside for 40 minutes on Saturday.
Amherst heads into the weekend with the league leader in both rebounds and assists. Sophomore Megan Robertson is averaging a NESCAC-best 9.1 rebounds per game and senior tri-captain Marcia Voigt's 3.9 assists per contest lead the league. Kate Barnosky (Huntington Station, NY) tops the Jumbos in both categories with 6.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
Both teams have one of the top three-point shooters in NESCAC. Jumbo sophomore Hannah Foley (Acton, MA) has made 41 of 103 three-pointers for a .398 percentage. Amherst senior Jasmine Hardy has shot 47 of 117 beyond the arc for a .402 success rate.
The two teams teams spread their scoring around. Voigt ranks eighth among NESCAC scorers at 12.7 points per game to lead Amherst. Foley's Tufts-best 12.1 points per game is ninth in NESCAC.
D3hoops will be on site to webcast the game at http://www.d3hoops.com/videolink/tufts-at-amherst. D3hoops.com publisher Pat Coleman and Paul Carr will have the call. The Tufts-Amherst men's game which starts at 2 pm will also be carried by D3hoops.com.