NORTON, Mass. - A game-high 23 points from Michela North led visiting No. 8/9 Tufts University past the Wheaton College women's basketball team 58-45 on Thursday evening in the Emerson Gymnasium.
The loss is the Lyons first at home this season, moving them to 6-3 overall. Tufts, who are ranked eighth in the nation according to D3hoops.com and ninth in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) rankings, improve to 5-1 on the season.
Sophomore Oppie Morris led Wheaton with a team-high 14 points, while collecting six rebounds, one steal and four blocks. Senior Kiley Shoemaker netted 12 points and grabbed seven boards for Wheaton, while picking up three blocks. Junior Sophie Black led the Lyons with a team-high eight rebounds, while Ruthie Zientek collected six.
North added a game-high 15 rebounds to go with her 23 points, while also picking up two blocks and three steals. Emma Roberson finished the contest with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists for Tufts.
Back-to-back Shoemaker layups with 8:41 on the clock in the first quarter made it a 4-2 contest, but the lead would be short lived. Lauren Dillon tied the game moments later with a jumper that sparked a 9-0 run by the Jumbos.
Trailing by seven points heading into the second quarter the Lyons found a way to get back into the contest, outscoring their opponents 14-9. With the game tied at 20-20 with less than a minute remaining in the half, Morris drained one of two free-throws to earn the lead back for Wheaton. North responded at the end of the half with a layup to send Tufts into the locker room leading 22-21.
The third quarter proved to be the difference maker with the Jumbos pushing the pace. Tufts captured its first double-digit lead with 1:25 on the clock after opening the quarter on a 17-7 run, which was capped off by a Katie Martensen layup.
A jumper by Roberson with 5:15 left in the game earned Tufts its largest lead of the day at 56-39. Layups by Morris, Shoemaker and Zientek over the next two and a half minutes pulled the Lyons within striking distance with 2:30 remaining. Both sides would go scoreless over the next two minutes. Dillon ended the scoring draught with two made free-throws for Tufts with 30 seconds remaining.
The Lyons return to the court on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at the Salem State Holiday Tournament. Wheaton will take on Rutgers-Newark at 2 p.m.