NCAA D3 Basketball Tournament Round-Up: Endicott, UMass Dartmouth Make History, Advance To First-Ever Sweet 16

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Endicott College men’s basketball made history on Saturday, advancing to the program’s first-ever NCAA Sweet Sixteen! (Photo Credit:

By Kyle Prudhomme (@Kyle_Prudhomme) 

The second round of the NCAA Division III men’s & women’s basketball tournaments were underway Saturday with many New England teams advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. Some had to earn it the hard way, taking on higher-seeds in hostile environments, while others continued their winning ways that have followed them throughout the year.

Below are the updates from the second round action.

UMass Dartmouth 71, No. 12 Montclair State 63A day after winning its first NCAA tournament game in program history, UMass Dartmouth passed its second test in the tourney, holding off No. 11 Montclair State and snapping its eight-game winning streak. Junior Alicia Kutil recorded her eighth double-double of the season (20 points, 10 rebounds) while three other starters surpassed ten points for the Corsairs. UMass Dartmouth matches up with SUNY New Paltz on March 10th.

No. 4 Tufts 64, Husson 44The Jumbos took a ten-point lead into the intermission, but weren’t satisfied as they came out off the break to control a 21-4 drive in the third quarter – they did not look back. Tufts controlled the glass in its victory (44-23) and senior Michaela North tallied her second highest rebound total of the season with 13 boards. Tufts University goes up against No. 17 Scranton in the Sweet Sixteen March 10th. 

Babson College 62, No. 25 FDU-Florham 61 (OT): Babson’s Jacqueline Jozefick (10 points) lifted the Beavers to victory with a go-ahead layup with five seconds to go in the overtime period. FDU-Florham’s  Kendrea Williams finished with a game-high 27 points, while Babson’s Taylor Russell poured in 18 points to go with her 12 rebounds.

No. 1 Amherst College 60, No. 22 Mary Washington 51: – The top-team in the country will continue its quest for a perfect season, but their 29th win on Saturday featured some pushback from the Eagles, who erased a 31-19 first half deficit by outscoring the Purple & White in the second session. Amherst’s Jaimie Renner (18 points) helped keep Mary Washington at bay, knocking down four shots from the charity stripe in the final 30 seconds of the game. Amherst will play Babson in the third round. 

Williams 80, Scranton 53: It took eight minutes of play for Williams College to finds its groove, but when it did they were hard to stop. The Ephs took the lead with 12:30 left in the first half and never looked back. Five Williams players finished in double-digits with Daniel Aronowitz leading the way by pouring in 22 points on 8-of-13 from the floor.

No. 3 Babson 72, Skidmore 65: A game that featured 11 lead changes swung in the Beavers direction permanently with 2:05 remaining as Babson’s 13-3 scoring drive closed out the game at Staake Gymnasium. Joey Flannery logged game-highs in rebounds (10) and points (25) – he played all forty minutes. Nick Comenale (16), Charlie Rice (12), and Isaiah Nelsen (11) all finished with 10-plus points for Babson.

Endicott 111, Nichols 75What a difference a week makes as Endicott avenged its Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title loss to Nichols by setting a new season-high for points scored in a game. The Gulls were deadly from the floor, hitting 38-of-70 and connecting on 19 three pointers. Endicott guard Max Motroni led the shooting barrage with 12-of-16 made and a new season-high of 34 points.

No. 14 Tufts 94, St. Johns Fisher 81: The Jumbos topped the Cardinals with the help of 10 three-pointers on 24 attempts. Tufts’ Vincent Pace set a career-high with 37 points to lead his team toward victory while Tarik Smith (seven assists) and  Eric Savage (nine rebounds) added 17 and 16 points, respectively. St. John Fisher’s Keegan Ryan scored 33 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Tufts will go against fellow New England foe Babson in the Sweet Sixteen – the Beavers beat the Jumbos in December. 

No. 17 Susquehanna 72, Eastern Connecticut 67:  Eastern Connecticut’s Carlos Gonzalez (12 points) knocked down a clutch triple with 11 seconds left to make the deficit just three points, but a pair of free throws from Susquehanna’s Steven Weidlich (25 points) put the game out of reach. Susquehanna made a habit of scoring points in the paint, edging the opponent, 40-28, down low – center Ryan Traub recorded a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds. Susquehanna will take on Williams College in round three.  

No. 6 Middlebury 95, No. 15 Lycoming 76:  An early first half spurt gave Middlebury all the momentum it needed to put away Lycoming. Middlebury’s Matt St. Amour fueled the outburst with nine of his game-high 30 points during the first half surge. The Warriors, however, outscored the Panthers, 44-43, in the second-half, but the lead was too large to overcome. Middlebury’s Matt Folger led all bench players with 18 points in 16 minutes of action. Middlebury will fact Endicott in the third round – the Gulls took a November 27th meeting as they beat Panthers, 93-89.  

Keene State 92, No. 5 Ramapo 91 (OT)Keene State’s Jake Collagan drained the game-winning three to put his team ahead 92-91 with just 48 seconds left in overtime and the Owls – with tough defense to close – held onto upset Ramapo. Ty Nichols (seven assists) and Matt Ozzella (12 rebounds) were the engine for Keene State’s offense, dropping 32 and 22 points, respectively. Keene State’s next challenge is No. 25 Swarthmore. 

 

 

NCAA D3 Basketball Tournament Roundup: Husson, Nichols & UMass Dartmouth Make History

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UMass Dartmouth women’s basketball made history on Friday evening, defeating La Roche en route to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament victory! (Photo Credit: UMass Dartmouth Athletics)

By Elaine Cavalieri (@ElaineCavSports) 

NCAA Div. III Men’s Tournament Bracket 

NCAA Divison III Women’s Tournament Bracket 

The first evening of NCAA Division III men’s and women’s basketball tournament came to a close late Friday evening, and below is the local first-round roundup.

SUNY New Paltz 62, Bowdoin 61: A late defensive stand helped the Hawks prevail past the Polar Bears and set-up second round match-up against host Ithaca. Abigail Kelly paced the Polar Bears off the bench, tallying 13 points, while recording six rebounds, two steals and one assist. 

SUNY Poly 80, Eastern Connecticut 72:  SUNY Poly’s Stevie Ray highlighted her team’s effort against the Warriors, pouring in 43 points, while tallying five steals, four rebounds and four assists. Eastern Connecticut’s Jordyn Nappi concluded the contest with 19 points.

Amherst 63, Regis 37: A big effort from the Purple & White’s bench helped Amherst defeat the Pride at home. Maeve McNamara led the hosts with 11 points.

Endicott 71, Salisbury 68:  Kamahl Walker scored the game’s biggest layup late in the second session, while tallying a game-high 32 points to carry to the Gulls to an exciting first-round victory.

Babson 59, Messiah 53:  Giovanna Pickering helped the Beavers extend their current winning streak to five-games, thanks to a game-best 20 points. Taylor Russell netted 11 points, while Jennifer Narlee recorded a double-double of 11 points and 15 rebounds.  

Eastern Connecticut 86, MIT 70: Hugh Lindo recorded 21 points and 12 rebounds, Tarchee Brown added 22 points, seven rebounds and two assists as the Warriors defeated the Engineers in their first-ever meeting. AJ Jurko paced MIT with 19 points. 

UMass Dartmouth 71, La Roche 64: Nakira Examond recorded his 11 double-double of the season with 23 points (11 of 15 from the field) and 15 rebounds as the Corsairs made history, earning their first-ever NCAA Tournament win over La Roche. 

Babson 92, Husson 76:  Joey Flannery led the Green and White with 28 points, while Isaiah Nelson recorded a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds. As a team, Babson converted 28 of 35 free throws. Husson’s  Raheem Anderson and Mitch Worcester each netted 17 points.

Nichols 96, Neumann 93:  DeAnte Bruton netted 28 points, while pulling down six rebounds as the Bison captured its first-ever NCAA Tournament contest. Their three-point win set-up a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship re-match in the second round.  

Husson 74, DeSales 72: The Eagles captured their first-ever NCAA Tournament game as they rallied to defeat the Bulldogs at Tufts University. Chandler Guerrette scored a game-high 28 points, including a trio of trifectas and 13 of 16 free throws.

Catching Up With Babson College Guard Taylor Russell

Babson College senior Ashley Russell and the Bears kick-off their 2016-17 season on Saturday, November 19th when they tip-off against Farmingdale State. (PHOTO CREDIT: Babson College Athletics)
Babson College senior Ashley Russell and the Bears kick-off their 2016-17 season on Saturday, November 19th when they tip-off against Farmingdale State. (PHOTO CREDIT: Babson College Athletics)

By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob

Taylor Russell is a senior at Babson College and a captain on this year’s women’s basketball squad. Russell, along with fellow captain Giovanna Pickering and seven others return from a team that went 21-6 last year and captured its fifth New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title since 2010.

Russell started nine times and appeared in 26 of 27 for legendary Coach Judy Blinstrub’s Green and White, averaging career highs of 9.3 points and 5.5 rebounds, while shooting 45.1 percent from the floor. Russell was a three-sport (basketball, lacrosse and volleyball) All-Star at Braintree High School in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Russell’s younger sister, Ashley, is a sophomore on the Penn Quakers basketball team.

Noontime Sports correspondent Bob Whitney recently spoke with Russell just prior to the Beavers’ first game of the 2016-17 season on Saturday, November 19 against Farmingdale State (Amherst College Tip-Off Classic 8 p.m.).

How prepared were you to play at the college level?

My high school coach, Kristen McDonnell, was a real stickler for defensive fundamentals – it was all about defense first. That skill set really helped me in my first year at Babson. I felt like I was a step ahead of the other freshman because we had spent considerable time on defensive skills (individual and team) at Braintree HS.

What have you noticed are the biggest differences in transitioning from playing in high school to college?

There are a couple of things that quickly come to mind. First of all, the pace of the game is so much quicker. Then the competition is much more intense and finally managing the time commitment between basketball and maintaining your studies. At Babson one of our guiding principles is students first and athletes second!

What challenges have you faced on the offensive end?

I have had to become a much more versatile player in college. I have had to learn the No. 2, 3 or 4 spots on the floor. I spent a lot of time learning and refining my post moves over the last three seasons.

What are the challenges of being a student-athlete?

No question maintaining a balance between basketball and the classroom. Time management is critical to your success. It was a real challenge, but I am glad that I made the sacrifice to do both.

What are the intangibles of playing a sport in college?

I have learned a lot, but I truly believe that hard work will pay off for you in the long run – whatever it takes to get the job done on the court or in the classroom. You also get the opportunity to make some incredible friendships along the way, which will hopefully become life-long. In addition playing a sport teaches you a lot about teamwork, decision-making, leadership, adapting to change and how to handle pressure.

Finally, what kind of senior season do you expect to have?

Well, we lost a number of very experienced players from last year so experience will be a factor in the early games. But we have some very good freshman this year and a transfer so I expect us to be right in the mix for the NEWMAC title. Last year we just missed the NCAA tournament but this year I expect us to earn the automatic bid.

Follow Bob on Twitter @WhitneyBob; like him on Facebook and Instagram.

Mass. College Hoops: Babson, Tufts Capture Respective Conference Crowns

By Matt Noonan 

On Sunday afternoon, the Babson College and Tufts University women’s basketball teams each captured their respective conference crowns, while earning automatic-bids to the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament that commences later this week.

The Beavers defeated Wheaton College in Springfield by a score of 77-51, while the Jumbos topped Bowdoin College at home by a score of 68-52.

Babson Captures Sixth NEWMAC Crown in Seven Seasons: Linnett Graber stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, nine rebounds, five assists and one steal, while Taylor Russell poured in a game-and-team-high 16 points as the Beavers overcame a regular season setback to the Lyons.

Babson led Wheaton, 42-18, at the break before tacking on 35 points during the second stanza. The Lyons rallied by netting 33 points in the second half, including nine points from Abbie Brickley and eight points from Kiley Shoemaker. Laura Pierce netted a team-high 12 points for the Blue and White, while Shoemaker pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds.

The Beavers, who entered the tournament as the fourth seed, earned a trip to the finals by defeating WPI and host Springfield in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, respectively. Wheaton’s road to the championship began with a quarterfinal victory over Emerson College before they defeated U.S. Coast Guard Academy yesterday in the semifinal.

Jennifer Narlee added 10 points for the Green and White, while Erin Young connected on three of seven shots from beyond the arc.

Tufts wins Second-Straight NESCAC crown: Four Jumbos registered double-digits, including 16 points from Emma Roberson as Tufts defended its tournament crown from one year ago.

Tufts led Bowdoin, 28-22, at the break before netting 40 points in the second half to secure their 26th win of the season.

Roberson scored 11 of her 16 points during the final 20 minutes, while Michela North, Hayley Kanner and Josie Lee netted 14, 12 and 12 points, respectively. Kelsey Morehead came off the bench and poured in seven points, while Melissa Baptista – also came off the bench – added two points, one rebound and one block.

Mass. College Hoops: Fast Start Carries Babson Over Springfield, 78-59

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Babson College sports information department, here’s this evening’s release from the women’s basketball game, which saw the Beavers use a fast start to defeat Springfield College:

BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Lindsey Roche (Arlington, Mass.) led five players in double figures with 15 points and Babson College shot a blistering 51.7 percent, cruising to a 78-59 victory over visiting Springfield College in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women’s basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium.

With the win, Babson is now 8-9 overall and 8-5 in conference play, while Springfield drops to 10-8 overall and 6-7 in the NEWMAC.

First-year Taylor Russell (Braintree, Mass.) had a career-high 12 points and sophomores Linnett Graber (Roseland, N.J.) and Megan Otto (Scituate, Mass.), as well as first-year Giovanna Pickering (Hull, Mass.) each chipped in with 10 for the Beavers. Otto also pulled down a team-high six boards while sophomore Briana Hunt (Newton, Mass.) dished out a game-high five assists.

Junior Jaimie Bickelhaupt (Brookfield, Conn.) had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Pride while sophomore Emily Gins (Fort Myers, Fla.) added 10 points and 10 boards. Junior Andrea Moschetta (Harrison, N.Y.) had a team-high four assists.

Babson raced to a 10-0 lead in the opening 3:16 of the game, sparked by six points from Hunt. Back-to-back hoops from Bickelhaupt and junior Riley Fake (Brockport, N.Y.) cut the Beavers’ lead to 20-12 at the 10:23 mark, but junior Erin Young (Westwood, Mass.) and Roche responded with consecutive three-pointers to put Babson in front 26-12 with 9:46 to go until halftime.

The Green and White shot 46.9 percent (15-for-32) in the first half and drilled seven of its season-high 10 three-pointers, including four from Roche, in the opening 20 minutes. The Pride, which shot 43.3 percent (13-for-30) in the opening period closed to within 40-33 at the break after first-year Lexi Windwer (Milton, Mass.) and Bickelhaupt sandwiched three-pointers around a layup from Otto.

Leading 55-39 following a Graber layup with 14:40 to go in the game, the Beavers held Springfield without a field goal over the next six and a half minutes and used a 14-2 run to put the game away.

Russell knocked down a three and Otto scored on a layup on the next possession to push the lead to 21. Sophomore Jess Coelho (Westport, Conn.) hit a pair of free throws, Russell scored off a feed from first-year McKenna Cudgma (Hingham, Mass.), Roche knocked down her fifth trifecta of the game, and Cudgma capped the run with a lay in to make it 69-41 with 8:26 to go.

Babson, which made 10 of its first 11 shots in the second half, held the Pride to just 35.7 percent (10-for-28) shooting after halftime. The Beavers outscored Springfield 28-22 in the paint and 26-10 off turnovers.

Both teams return to action on Wednesday at 7 p.m. as Babson travels to first-place Wellesley, while Springfield hosts WPI.

GAME NOTES: Babson is now 22-9 all-time against Springfield and has won 15 of the last 16 meetings between the two teams going back to 2007…The Beavers are now 6-2 when leading at halftime this season…Babson is 7-3 when holding its opponents under 60 points this year…The Beavers 51.7 field goal percentage is their best since shooting 60 percent in a win at Smith on February 10, 2013.