Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Washington U. Women Fall Short in Bid for D-III Final Four

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Washington U. Women Fall Short in Bid for D-III Final Four

Article excerpt

Washington University's bid for an 11th trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four fell short Saturday night.

Senior Michela North scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds the 43rd double-double of her career and junior Melissa Baptista added 14 points, all in the second half, as the visiting Jumbos of Tufts (Mass.) University pulled away in the second half for a 57-43 victory in the women's basketball sectional title game.

This marks the fourth straight trip to the Final Four for fourth-ranked Tufts (29-2), which finished as runner-up a year ago. The Jumbos play next weekend at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

It's the second straight Elite Eight loss for the sixth-ranked Bears (26-3).

"Nothing about this night is easy," Washington University coach Nancy Fahey said. "You wish so much for your seniors. You wish you could play one more. You want to make another trip to the Final Four.

"I've said that this game is the toughest to win and the toughest to lose."

Tufts led just 19-18 at the half but pulled away from there. Baptista, the Jumbos' leading scorer, was scoreless at the half but managed to score six of her team's first eight points in the third quarter and the Jumbos never looked back.

"They went to their star," Fahey said. "We were able to hold her down for a while, but you could see they were going to her. And she came through."

Tufts connected on seven of 14 shots from the floor and on seven of eight free throws in the third quarter, outscoring the Bears 22-12 to take command in a physical game.

The Jumbos managed to stretch the lead to 18 at 53-35 when sophomore Jac Knapp hit one of two free throws with 5:25 to play. Knapp finished with 10 points.

But the star of the game was North, the program's career scoring and rebounding leader. She also had three blocks in what was a very physical contest. …

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