Mass. College Hoops: Babson Stuns No. 5 Tufts, 58-52


Courtesy of the Babson College athletic department, here’s this evening’s release about the women’s basketball team, which defeated No. 5 Tufts University this evening:

MEDFORD, Mass.—Sophomore Linnett Graber (Roseland, N.J.) and first-year Giovanna Pickering (Hull, Mass.) each scored 16 points and visiting Babson College stormed back from a 19-point halftime deficit to stun previously undefeated and fifth-ranked Tufts University, 58-52, in non-conference women’s basketball action on Tuesday night at Cousens Gym.

With its fourth straight victory, Babson is now 12-10 on the year, while Tufts drops to 21-1.

Graber and Pickering combined for 22 of their 32 points after halftime as the Beavers shot a blistering 73.7 percent (14-for-19) from the floor and went 16-of-20 at the free throw line over the final 20 minutes. Pickering also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds for the Green and White.

The Jumbos, who made just four second-half field goals, were led by 13 points from senior Liz Moynihan (Storrs, Conn.) and eight from first-year Michela North (Duxbury, Mass.).

After shooting just 31.6 percent and committing 13 first-half turnovers, Babson used a 23-4 run over the first 10:32 of the second half to tie the game at 36-36. Sophomore Briana Hunt (Newton, Mass.) opened the period with a layup, followed by back-to-back hoops from junior Nicki Heavern (Hull, Mass.), and a pair of free throws from Graber to cut the deficit to 32-21.

After a North free throw, junior Erin Young (Westwood, Mass.) buried a three-pointer, Pickering made a layup and Hunt hit one of two free throws to get within six. Moynihan hit Tufts’ first field goal of the half at the 12:54 mark, but another bucket from Graber, three points from Pickering and four straight points from first-year Gena Restiano (Revere, Mass.) helped the Beavers pull even for the first time since the opening minutes with 9:28 left.

Babson took its first lead of the game at 44-42 on a layup by first-year McKenna Cudgma (Hingham, Mass.) with 5:04 to go, and after North tied the game with two free throws, Young knocked down a jumper to give the Beavers the lead for good at 46-44. Graber buried a jumper on the next possession and Pickering drilled two free throws one possession later to make it 50-44 with 1:54 remaining.

Moynihan made it a three-point game with 1:37 left, but Pickering rebounded her own miss for a hoop with 1:05 to go and Babson put the game away by going 6-of-8 at the free throw line of the final 36 seconds to win its 40th consecutive game in the month of February.

The Beavers shot 52.6 percent (20-for-38) for the game, outscored the Jumbos 30-14 in the paint, and held a 34-24 advantage on the glass.

Babson returns to action on Saturday afternoon when its hosts Wheaton at 1 p.m., while Tufts welcomes Colby to Medford on Friday at 6 p.m.

GAME NOTES: Babson is now 10-12 all-time against Tufts and has won two of the last three meetings in the series going back to 2011…The Beavers are now 12-5 on the year when scoring 50 points or more and are 9-4 when holding their opponents under 60…Babson is 8-2 when shooting 40 percent or better from the field and 7-3 when it holds an edge on the glass.

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