Women's Basketball Holds Off WPI to Earn Seventh Straight Win to Start Season

WORCESTER – Senior co-captain Erica DeCandido scored 10 of her team-high 18 points in the third quarter and also finished with 13 rebounds and five steals as the #2 ranked Tufts University women's basketball team shook off WPI, 56-44, on Saturday afternoon.

Sofia Rosa had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists of the bench for the Jumbos.

The Jumbos remained unbeaten at 7-0 heading into their final game of the fall semester at Bridgewater State on Tuesday. The Engineers fell to 5-3.

Leading by three at halftime (21-18), Tufts built a 12-point lead twice in the third quarter. DeCandido's four free throws put Tufts up 35-25 with 2:39 remaining in the third. They led 39-27 following a pair of free throws by sophomore Sofia Rosa with 1:20 remaining. However, WPI scored the final two baskets of the third by senior Spencer Vinson and junior Sara Lyons to pull within eight (39-31).

Into the fourth, WPI senior Alana Keating scored the first five points of the period and the hosts were with 39-36 at the 7:22 mark. Tufts was able to take charge from there though, going on a 15-0 run to lead 54-36 on a lay-up by Rosa with 2:45 to go in regulation. Three-pointers by junior Emily Briggs and sophomore Molly Ryan, and three-point plays from senior Sadie Otley and DeCandido highlighted the decisive Jumbo stretch. Defensively during the run, Tufts held the Engineers without a point for more than five minutes.

WPI had scored the first four points of the game on baskets by Keating and Vinson. However, they did not score again in the period as the Jumbos took a 10-4 advantage after one. Tufts had five of their points at the line – three by DeCandido – as both teams struggled to get started offensively.

The Engineers broke a scoreless slump of nearly 10 minutes with a basket by Vinson that made it 12-6 Jumbos at 8:22 of the second quarter. Vinson's basket initiated a 14-6 run that tied the game at 18-apiece with 2:51 remaining in the half. Three-pointers by WPI sophomores Melanie Presseau and Alex Scariati closed the run.

The Jumbos scored the final three points of the second quarter on a lay-up by senior Cailin Harrington and a free throw from Ryan to lead 21-18 at the break. The teams combined to shot just 25 percent in the first half (14/55).

DeCandido was 10 for 11 from the line in the game, and the Jumbos were 17 for 20 overall (85 percent). Rosa came off the bench to score 14 points, making five of eight field goals, and also had seven rebounds and a team-best three assists. Ryan recorded nine points with five rebounds.

Vinson had 18 for WPI, making eight of 14 shots. She also finished with five rebounds and three blocks. Keating and Presseau both scored seven for the hosts, while Scariati added three assists to her six points. Lyons and sophomore McKenna Finken tied for the team rebounding lead with six.

The Engineers play next on December 17 at Bates.