Text by Alex Schroeder, Photos by Evan Sayles

The Jumbos came out in the first quarter of the NCAA Div. III National Championship and executed exactly as they needed to. They kept Thomas More’s three-time Div. III Player of the Year and NCAA Tournament MVP senior Sydney Moss from getting hot, they worked the ball inside and out, knocking down jump shots and layups alike, and by the end of the first 10 minutes, Tufts held a 17-11 lead. It was an ideal start, and three more quarters of that type of refined play could have seen the Jumbos hoisting the championship trophy in Indianapolis.

In the end, though, Thomas More went on one too many runs, and the Jumbos struggled with foul trouble as early as the second quarter. Unable to recapture their momentum from the opening 10 minutes, the Jumbos fell to the Saints, 63-51, giving Thomas More its second undefeated national championship season in a row. It’s just the second time in Div. III history that a team has had back-to-back undefeated national title seasons. They finish off the last two seasons with a 66-0 overall record.

4/2/16 – Indianapolis, IN – The Tufts women's basketball team boards its bus to practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, April 2, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

The Tufts women’s basketball team boards its bus to practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, April 2.

4/2/16 – Indianapolis, IN – Tufts head coach Carla Berube observes as the women's basketball team practices at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, April 2, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

Tufts head coach Carla Berube observes as the women’s basketball team practices at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, April 2.

4/2/16 – Indianapolis, IN – Tufts guard Jennie Mucciarone, LA'18, smiles at a successful shot made by a teammate during the women's basketball team's first practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, April 2, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

Tufts guard Jennie Mucciarone, LA’18, smiles at a successful shot made by a teammate during the women’s basketball team’s first practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, April 2.

4/3/16 – Indianapolis, IN – The Tufts women's basketball team practices at Hinkley Fieldhouse, Butler University on Sunday, April 3, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

The Tufts women’s basketball team practices at Hinkley Fieldhouse, Butler University on Sunday, April 3.

4/3/16 – Indianapolis, IN – Tufts head coach Carla Berube, forward/center Michela North, LA'17, tri-captain and guard Emma Roberson, LA'16, and guard Lauren Dillon, LA'18, speak at a press conference on Sunday, April 3, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

Tufts head coach Carla Berube, forward/center Michela North, LA’17, tri-captain and guard Emma Roberson, LA’16, and guard Lauren Dillon, LA’18, speak at a press conference on Sunday, April 3.

4/3/16 – Indianapolis, IN – The Tufts women's basketball team practices at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday, April 3, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

The Tufts women’s basketball team practices at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday, April 3.

4/4/16 – Indianapolis, IN – Tufts forward Melissa Baptista, LA'18, shoots at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on the day of the NCAA Div. I championship, Monday, April 4, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

Tufts forward Melissa Baptista, LA’18, shoots at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on the day of the NCAA Div. I championship, Monday, April 4.

 

And now for the game…

4/4/16 – Indianapolis, IN – The women's basketball team stretches below Bankers Life Fieldhouse before the NCAA Div. III women's basketball championship on Monday, April 4, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

The women’s basketball team stretches below Bankers Life Fieldhouse before the NCAA Div. III women’s basketball championship on Monday, April 4.

 (Daily Photo)

The team huddles before their final game on April 4.

 (Daily Photo)

Lauren Dillon (LA’18) drives to the net.

Coach Carla Berube looks to referee for foul call explanation during the NCAA Div. III championship game. (Daily Photo)

Coach Carla Berube looks to referee for foul call explanation during the NCAA Div. III championship game.


“I think my team battled, you know, we didn’t give up, made it a game in the fourth quarter by making plays and just playing tough basketball the way we have all season.” -Coach Carla Berube


 

4/4/16 – Indianapolis, IN – Tufts guard Michelle Wu, LA'16, kicks the ball off the court to prevent Thomas More from completing a pass in the NCAA Div. III women's basketball championship on Monday, April 4, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

Tufts guard Michelle Wu, LA’16, kicks the ball off the court to prevent Thomas More from completing a pass in the NCAA Div. III women’s basketball championship on Monday, April 4.

4/4/16 – Indianapolis, IN – 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

The Tufts women’s basketball team cheers from the bench in the NCAA Div. III women’s basketball championship on Monday, April 4.

4/4/16 – Indianapolis, IN – Tufts forward/center Michela North, LA'17, reaches to block a shot by a Thomas More player in the NCAA Div. III women's basketball championship on Monday, April 4, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

Tufts forward/center Michela North, LA’17, reaches to block a shot by a Thomas More player in the NCAA Div. III women’s basketball championship on Monday, April 4.

4/4/16 – Indianapolis, IN – The women's basketball team, assured by the game clock of a loss, hug Tufts tri-captain and guard Emma Roberson, LA'16, and Tufts tri-captain and guard Nicole Brooks, LA'16, they exit the court for the final time in the NCAA Div. III women's basketball championship on Monday, April 4, 2016. (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily) (Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily)

The women’s basketball team, assured by the game clock of a loss, hug Tufts tri-captain and guard Emma Roberson, LA’16, and Tufts tri-captain and guard Nicole Brooks, LA’16, they exit the court for the final time in the NCAA Div. III women’s basketball championship on Monday, April 4.