When the NCAA D-III Women’s Basketball Tournament pairings were released last Monday, the thought of Williams College facing Tufts University for the third time this season seemed like a possibility. But it wasn’t a given.
For the Ephs and Jumbos to meet in the “Sweet 16,” both teams needed to win their respective pods, which they did. Tufts beat SUNY Cortland and SUNY Poly while Williams topped Albright College and Ithaca College. And now, the two New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) squads are scheduled to tip-off this Friday, March 13th in Medford, Massachusetts.
When asked about competing against the Jumbos for a third time this season, Williams coach Pat Manning smiled and then said, “Here we go with our third time with Tufts. Hope the third time’s a charm, right?”
Perhaps the third time will be the charm for the Ephs, who have lost twice this winter to the Jumbos, including a six-point setback in the NESCAC semifinals last month, which provided Tufts an opportunity to contend for the conference title against Bowdoin College.
Prior to their meeting in the NESCAC Tournament, Tufts beat Williams on the final Saturday of the regular season by a score of 76-60. Cailin Harrington highlighted the win for the Jumbos with 17 points on five of ten shooting to go with nine rebounds, two assists, and one block while Williams’ Maggie Meehan tallied 17 points, as well, along with one rebound, one assist, and one steal.
Williams, which earned its first trip to the “big dance” in five seasons as an at-large bid, will be making its fifth appearance in the “Sweet 16” on Friday.