AMHERST, Mass. – Sophomore Madeline Eck scored 20 points and Amherst College built a 13-point halftime lead, but needed to hold off No. 7 Tufts University in another classic meeting between these two New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) women's basketball rivals Friday evening at LeFrak Gymnasium.
No. 1 Amherst moved to 21-0 on the season with a 50-43 victory, handing Tufts their third loss of the season. In the last two years, the Jumbos (19-3, 6-2 NESCAC) have lost just six games, four of them at the hands of the Mammoths, including last year's National Championship game and NESCAC Tournament title game.
Tufts is the third Top-10 team that the Mammoths have beaten this year, joining fellow NESCAC member Bowdoin College and Trine University (Ind.), who Amherst played in Las Vegas.
Emma McCarthy '19 finished the game with eight points and eight rebounds. Her layup with 41 seconds to play gave the Mammoths a five-point advantage, and Maeve McNamara '19 came off the bench to seal the game away with a pair of free throws.
Tufts got 18 points and 13 rebounds from Melissa Baptista, and her only successful three-point attempt (1-7) pulled the Jumbos to within five points with 2:24 to play. Baptista added a layup to get Tufts within three points at 46-43, but she missed another triple that would have tied the game at 46.
Eck, who also had six rebounds, two blocks and three assists, had 14 points in the first half, and the Mammoths took a double-digit lead thanks to a 14-3 run to start the second quarter, but Tufts repaid the favor in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to seven by the end of the third.
Baptista had six points and eight rebounds at half, while Katie Martensen had eight points in the first half, though she was held off the scoresheet in the second half.
Lauren Dillon scored eight points for Tufts, who shot 32% from the field compared to 47% for Amherst, who also had a 40-27 rebounding advantage.
For the first time this season, Amherst failed to make a three-point shot (0-7) in the game.
Amherst will be back on their home court at LeFrak tomorrow at 3:00 pm with their final regular season home game, a date with Bates College.
Prior to that game, the Mammoths will celebrate Senior Day by honoring McCarthy, Hackley, Nagle and Jenna Schumacher.