MEDFORD, Mass. – Pine Manor made the most of its first trip to the NCAA Division III tournament fighting Tufts the whole way, but the No. 5 ranked Jumbos proved to be too much for the Gators as they fell 87-46 in Friday's first round matchup.
With the loss, Pine Manor finishes its historic season with a 13-10 record.
Freshman Erica Jones (Atlanta, Ga.) finished off her first collegiate season with a strong offensive performance leading Pine Manor with 16 points. Sophomore captain Maria Vaughan (Okinawa, Japan) added 12 points of her own. Junior Khiyana Isaac (Roxbury, Mass.) was strong on the boards as she grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Sophomore Michela North (Duxbury, Mass.) dominated down low and had a game-high 25 points for the Jumbos. She also led all rebounders with 13.
After North gave the Jumbos the early 2-0 lead, Jones responded with a layup at the other end. She drew contact and converted the three-point play to give the Gators the 3-2 lead. A layup by Vaughan would give the guest the 5-2 advantage.
Jones and Vaughan did almost all of the damage for the Gators in the first half contributing 14 of the Pine Manor's 18 points in the opening period. On the defensive end, Pine Manor couldn't combat North's size down low as she recorded 21 in the first half.
Tufts opened up a sizeable lead as Pine Manor struggled to get to the basket. The Jumbos had seven blocks in the half and forced the Gators to commit 10 turnovers.
However, it was Pine Manor that got hot late. They finished the half strong, closing with a 9-2 run punctuated by Maria Vaughan's three-pointer at the top of the arc to close out the scoring.
Coming out of the break, the Gators continued to feed off that momentum. They trimmed the lead down to 16 over the first seven minutes of the second act.
Tufts would take over from there as they dominated down the stretch. Their lead ballooned to 41 and Jumbos punched their ticket into the second round.
Tufts will play St. John Fisher in the second round tomorrow at 5 p.m. as the Cardinals claimed the 62-60 overtime victory in the first game of the day.
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