Wheaton drops 80-71 decision to Tufts in return home after long layoff

NORTON, MA- Playing in its first home contest in nearly three weeks following a five-game road swing, the Wheaton College women's basketball team dropped an 80-71 decision to regional power Tufts University in non-league action on Monday night in Emerson Gymnasium.

The Lyons fell to 2-5 overall, while the Jumbos, who are receiving national votes from D3hoops.com, extended their winning streak to six games in improving to 6-1 on the season.

Seniors Andrea Bailey (Needham, MA/Needham) and Ida Kruse (Vershire, VT/Rivendell Academy) paced Wheaton offensively with 12 points apiece, with Bailey adding a game-high-tying five assists and Kruse shooting 6-of-10.  Classmate Jenny Champney (Bedford, MA/Bedford) contributed 11 points and eight boards.

Sophomore Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, NJ/Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) and freshmen Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, MA/Holyoke) and Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, CT/Trinity Catholic) had nine points apiece for the Lyons.  DePalo dished out five assists, while Colon Ortiz pulled down six boards in 11 minutes of play.

All five Tufts starters reached double-figure scoring, led by junior Colleen Hart (Needham, MA/Needham), who poured in 22 points to go alongside five rebounds and four assists.  Sophomore Tiffany Kornegay (Carver, MA/Tabor Academy) matched her career high of 18 points, as she went 7-of-8 from the floor in the first half alone.  She also had four steals.

Jumbo senior Julia Baily (Farmington, CT/Miss Porter's School) posted 12 points, while junior Vanessa Miller (Cincinnati, OH/Walnut Hills) and sophomore Kate Barnosky (Huntington Station, NY/Whitman) added 10 points each.  Miller neared a triple-double with nine rebounds and seven thefts, while Barnosky added eight boards.

The visitors were firing on all cylinders offensively in the opening half, hitting 20 of their first 30 shots for a 66.7-percent clip, including draining seven of their initial 11 from deep, good for 63.6 percent, as the Jumbos carried a 52-34 lead into the locker room.  A Champney free throw and lay-in provided the Lyons with a 3-0 edge by 18:38 before the Jumbos went on a 14-3 run for a 14-6 advantage at 13:40.  Leading 34-24 at 6:39, Tufts used a 14-5 spurt to take a commanding 48-29 lead with less than three minutes to go before the break.

Champney's jumper at 15:08 of the second half narrowed Wheaton's deficit to 10 at 55-45, but the Jumbos responded with 19 of the game's next 25 points for the contest's largest advantage at 74-51 with 7:22 to go.  The Lyons didn't go away quietly, using a 20-6 run over 6:14 to pull within 80-71 with 51 ticks to go, but it proved to be too little too late.  The hosts held Tufts without a point for the last 4:28.

Wheaton remains at home on Wednesday for a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game against Clark University at 7:00 p.m.

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