Hartford, Conn. - On a day where the Bantams honored seniors Emily Llerena (New Milford, Conn.), Aubree Udell (Chester, N.J.), Alex Norgaisse (Haverhill, Mass.) and Jessica Hom (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) in front of the home crowd before the team's regular season finale, the Trinity College women's basketball team fell to the Tufts University Jumbos, 59-40, at Oosting Gymnasium in Hartford. Trinity falls to 15-9 overall and 3-7 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) while No. 7-ranked Tufts improves to 21-3 on the year and 8-2 in conference play. Despite the loss, Trinity has qualified for the NESCAC Championship Tournament after a three-year hiatus, finishing eighth in the conference after finishing tied with Colby, but earning the tiebreaker after defeating the Mules, 59-55, earlier this winter.
The Bantams were led by junior Erin Cunningham (Wilton, Conn.) who scored a game-high 13 points and tied a team-high of six rebounds. Cunningham was the lone Bantam to finish in double-figures as Trinity shot just 30.4% from the floor. Tufts' scoring was spread out, led by Jac Knapp (Westfield, N.J.) who turned in 12 points, six boards and three steals. Lauren Dillon (Wellesley, Mass.) added nine points and six assists while Cailin Harrington (Westwood, Mass.) scored eight points and pulled down four rebounds off the bench. The Jumbos won the rebound battle, 33-27, and forced 18 Trinity turnovers.
Knapp scored six of her 12 points in the first quarter to help the Jumbos open a 17-6 lead after the first ten minutes of play. Tufts' defense limited the Bantams to just 2-of-9 shooting in the game's first quarter and came away with four steals. The visitors extended their lead in the second quarter to open up a 32-18 lead at the half, thanks largely to a 5-of-11 second quarter. Cunningham kept the Bantams in it with eight second quarter points, but just two other Trinity players found the bottom of the net in the second quarter.
Trinity turned things around a bit in the third frame, holding the Jumbos to under 30% shooting from the floor, but five turnovers on the offensive side of the ball proved costly. Hom and Cunningham both tallied three points each in the final quarter, but Tufts kept things out of reach, shooting 6-of-13 from the field down the stretch to come away with the 59-40 victory.
The Bantams will travel to top-seeded Amherst College next Saturday for the NESCAC Tournament Quarterfinals, scheduled for 2 p.m. The winner will advance to the tournament's semifinal round the following weekend, Saturday, February 24th.