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Women’s basketball looks to repeat NESCAC playoff history against Tufts

February 17, 2023

Courtesy of Brian Beard
HUDDLE UP: Sela Kay ’22 blows by a Bates College defender. The women’s basketball team will travel to Medford, Mass. this weekend to take on top-seeded Tufts University in the NESCAC tournament.

Tomorrow, the eighth-seeded women’s basketball team (15–9; 4–6 NESCAC) will travel to Medford, Mass. to take on the first seed in the NESCAC Championship tournament, the Tufts University Jumbos (18-6, 9-1 NESCAC).

This game has huge implications for the Polar Bears, as their season will most likely come to a close if they lose on Saturday.

The Polar Bears will be powered by leading scorer Sydney Jones ’25, as well as a strong upperclassman core of Annie Boasberg ’22, Sela Kay ’22 and Jess Giorgio ’23.

Bowdoin lost to Tufts earlier in the regular season on February 4 by a score of 54–66. It was a close game until a strong fourth quarter from Tufts separated the two teams.

This brought Bowdoin’s all-time record versus Tufts to 16–17, with this weekend being a possible equalizer.

The Polar Bears are also trying to shake off their final game of the season, which was a 45–64 loss to Amherst College (17–7; 5–5 NESCAC). Amherst held Bowdoin to a 29 percent shooting performance from the field. Bowdoin has been trying to hone in on its shooting percentage and offensive rebound conversions throughout the season.

The team’s 4–6 NESCAC record landed it the eight seed in the tournament, but many of the conference losses were close games, something Boasberg says the team has used as motivation.

“We were in close games with all the teams we could have played. [We feel like] as long as we’re in the tournament we can just keep moving forward,” Boasberg said.

The last time an eighth seed beat a top seed in the NESCAC tournament was in 2013, when Bowdoin faced off against Tufts with a team that featured current Head Coach Megan Phelps as a starter for the Polar Bears. Ultimately, Bowdoin bested Tufts by a score of 60–54 in a performance that the current team hopes to channel this weekend.

“Our coach having such a strong connection to our program has been amazing,” Boasberg said. “Last year, we struggled in similar ways but we didn’t have this off-court culture that made us look at this situation as an opportunity rather than a disadvantage.”

Boasberg has been a member of the team for five years, meaning this will be her fourth NESCAC tournament, but her first one seeded as low as eighth. Despite this, Boasberg is just as ready for the tournament as in previous years, emphasizing that Bowdoin has embraced the underdog mentality.

“We talk a lot about how there’s nothing to lose. We don’t have a ranking. Really all it is is us fighting to keep moving on,” Boasberg said.

The team points to little mistakes made in the previous meeting against Tufts that they hope to avoid, including a 15 percent shooting performance in the fourth quarter and defense that allowed Tufts to have a prolific shooting afternoon, particularly from beyond the arc.

With a week off to game plan and get healthy, the Polar Bears hope to recreate history on Saturday, looking to pull off another upset and keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive.


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