MEDFORD, Mass. (Release courtesy Tufts University sports information) - Senior guard Colleen Hart (Needham, Mass.) scored 19 of her game-high 22 points in the second half and secured a crucial rebound late in the contest as the Tufts women's basketball team came back from a 10-point deficit in the second half to defeat Brandeis University 54-51 on Sunday afternoon at Cousens Gym.
The visiting Judges led 26-19 at the half behind 11 points from junior Morgan Kendrew (Cotuit, Mass./Barnstable). They extended their lead to 35-25 on a lay-up by senior tri-captain Mia DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) at the 14-minute mark of the second half. Brandeis was up nine (39-30) following a lay-up from junior Brighid Courtney (Southampton, Mass./Northampton) with 11:18 to go in regulation.
Tufts' comeback began with a three-pointer by Hart, and back-to-back baskets by junior Tiffany Kornegay (Carver, Mass.) had the Jumbos within 39-37 with 7:25 left. Four straight free throws by the Jumbos tied the game at 41-41 with 5:22 on the clock. That was the closest Tufts had been since a 15-15 tie with 6:55 remaining until halftime.
Brandeis scored the next five points to lead 46-41 on Kendrew's jumper at 4:35, but the Jumbos worked it down again to force a 48-48 tie on Hart's three-pointer at 2:36. Hart then drained a jumper that gave Tufts its first lead (50-48) in 25 minutes of action. Two free throws by Hart with 50 seconds on the clock put the Jumbos up 52-48.
The Judges scored the next three points on two free throws by DePalo and another from Kendrew to pull within 52-51 with 20 seconds remaining. Tufts' Kornegay was fouled after grabbing the rebound of a missed free throw by Brandeis, but she missed two at the other end. Brandeis called time-out with 14 seconds remaining to draw up a play. Kendrew created her own space for a jumper, but it was off the mark and Hart got the rebound. She added two freebies for the Jumbos for the 54-51 final.
Kendrew finished with 17 points to lead Brandeis (3-3). Senior Amber Strodthoff (DePere, Wis./DePere) had 11 of her 14 points in the second half for the Judges. The visitors won the battle of the boards 43-39, with DePalo's 12 the game high.
Hart added six rebounds and four assists to her scoring total. Sophomore Collier Clegg (Evanston, Ill.) also scored in double digits for Tufts with 14. She also grabbed six boards to share the team lead. First year Ali Rocchi (Fairfield, Conn.) contributed eight points on four for eight shooting. Despite shooting 29 percent (18-62) shooting overall, Tufts (2-1) turned the ball over just eight times.
Tufts travels to Salem State College for a 7 pm game on Tuesday night. Brandeis is next in action also on Tuesday when they host Emmanuel.