Final Shots Fall Short as Women's Basketball Drops Tight Contest to No. 11 Tufts

Final Shots Fall Short as Women's Basketball Drops Tight Contest to No. 11 Tufts

WORCESTER -- Hannah Kelly's (Harding Township, NJ) layup with under a minute to go put nationally-ranked Tufts ahead for good as the visiting Jumbos rallied from a 16-point deficit midway through the third quarter to knock off host WPI in a battle of undefeated women's basketball squads on Friday evening. 

Tufts, ranked 11th in the preseason D3hoops.com Top 25, is now 3-0 this season while the Engineers dip to 3-1 in 2022-2023. 

Trailing 57-52 after WPI's Alice Kelly (Wethersfield, CT) drained a 3-poitner off a feed from McKenna Finken (Simsbury, MA) with 3:37 to go, the guests rattled off the final eight points steal the victory.  Maggie Russell (Morristown, NJ) stared the run with a bucket and a pair of free throws before Hannah Kelly put the Jumbos ahead 58-57 with 58 seconds remaining.  After Hannah missed completing a 3-point play, Russell drained a pair of free throws after a defensive rebound with 27 seconds left to increase the advantage to three.  The Engineers had three chances to tie the game with a 3-pointer in the final 20 seconds but could not get any of them to drop, including the final bid at the buzzer. 

Tufts was down by 16 points midway through the third quarter following a layup by WPI's Kelly but scored 14 of the final 16 points of the stanza to go into final quarter down four.    

Russell netted 21 of her game-high 25 points in the second half, including 14 in the fourth quarter. The junior was 5-of-9 in the second half and 11-of-12 from the line and hauled in a team-high eight rebounds. Annika Decker (Menlo Park, Ca) totaled 10 points and also corralled eight boards. 

Victoria Mirecki (Washingtonville, NY) came off the bench to pace the Crimson and Gray with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Lisa Christiano (Valhalla, NY) contributed 11 points, Kelly finished with 10 and Alex Scariati (Scotch Plains, NJ) flirted with a triple-double with nine points, eight boards and seven assists. 

WPI is now off until the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend when it heads to Lewiston, Maine to square off with Bates on Sunday, November 27th at 1pm.  Tufts continues a busy weekend with a 1pm road game tomorrow (Saturday) at Brandeis.