Sixth-ranked Tufts outscored Middlebury 18-6 in the third quarter, on its way to a 74-58 win over the #25 Panthers (13-2, 3-1) in Pepin Gym. The Jumbos (14-1, 3-1) return to action when they host Worcester State on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., while the Panthers visit Smith on Tuesday.
Tufts led 14-7 in the first quarter on a bucket from Jac Knapp at the 3:35 mark. The Panthers later cut the lead to 18-14 on a three from Maya Davis, but trailed 20-16 after the first 10 minutes.
In the second frame, the Jumbos extended their lead to six (30-24) when Emily Briggs converted at the 5:15 mark. A three from Middlebury's Emily Wander and a hoop from Colleen Caveney brought the hosts within one 30-29 minutes later. Tufts responded and grew its lead back to five (36-31) with a bucket from Knapp before Caveney closed the first-half scoring, as the Jumbos led 36-33 at the break.
Both teams were red hot in the first half, with Middlebury shooting .652 and Tufts connecting on .600 of its shots.
In the decisive third quarter. Tufts led 40-35 at the 7:02 mark before a 9-0 run put them up 49-35 with 2:13 remaining in the quarter. A jumper from Lily Kuntz broke up the run before a quick 5-0 spurt with a three from Knapp gave the Jumbos a 54-39 lead after three.
Trailing 56-40, Middlebury cut the lead to 12 (56-44), but Tufts answered, moving its lead to 16 (62-46) on a layup from Briggs with 5:36 remaining. The Panthers made it a 64-54 game on a three from Betsy Knox with 4:05 on the clock, but Tufts answered with a 10-0 run to put the game away.
Caveney led the Panthers with 13 points, Davis scored 12, while Knox added 11. Alex Huffman finished with eight rebounds, while Catherine Harrison had six. With her six rebounds, Harrison moves into fifth place all-time at Middlebury with 654 caroms.
Knapp's 22 points on 8-11 shooting led all scorers in the game. Erica DeCandido recorded 18 points and had four assists, while Briggs added a dozen. Molly Ryan pulled down a team-high seven rebounds in the contest.
Tufts shot .509 from the floor and held a 32-24 advantage on the boards.