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Defending Their Home Turf

Defending Their Home TurfFueled by talented players and a driven coach, Tufts’ women’s basketball team has made their home court a very intimidating place for visiting teams. Medford/Somerville, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [02.06.04] Tufts' Carla Berube knows how to protect her home turf. As a player for UConn in the mid-1990s, she helped her team maintain a near-perfect home record over four seasons (losing just once between 1993 and 1997). Now a head coach at Tufts, Berube's women's basketball team is making Cousen's Gym just as inhospitable to visiting teams - maintaining a perfect record at home.

As The Boston Globe reported, Tufts has managed an undefeated record at home over its first seven games. On Friday night, it faces what could be its biggest challenge at home all season: the Black Bears of Bowdoin.

"Berube's 13-4 Tufts University squad hosts unbeaten Bowdoin College, the top-ranked team in Division III," reported ESPN. Huge crowds are expected to attend the match-up, which begins at 7 PM on Feb. 7.

But Berube -- who played on UConn's undefeated National Championship team in 1995 - and her players have proven more than capable of cutting down top-ranked teams.

"Tufts [orchestrated a] 60-55 upset of Salve Regina, which had a 20-game home win streak," reported the Globe. "The Jumbos have the league's fifth-leading scorer, Allison Love, and the team leads the league in scoring."

They also have a coach whose passion for the game is equal to that of her players.

"I pace a lot, and I talk under my breath," Berube told ESPN, describing her animated sidelines coaching style at Tufts, which has been compared with her former UConn coach Geno Auriemma.

Berube brings the same intensity to her team's practices.

"I took my team to one of [UConn's] practices in October," Berube told ESPN. "I think we practice as hard as they do. It's very intense. That's how I was brought up."

It appears to have rubbed off on her players.

Tufts forward Allison Love has been named NESCAC Player of the Week twice this season, and leads her team in scoring. The junior has also added a game-winning shot at the buzzer to her resume of impressive performances this season.

Senior tri-captain Erin Buckley became the program's all-time leader in blocks this season, with 121 and counting.

The entire Tufts squad is shooting at 44 percent this season, leading the league by a large margin.

In the midst of an intense season, Berube has kept tabs on her old UConn team but remains very focused on her new home.

"It's funny. We won a game the night Connecticut lost to Notre Dame," Berube told ESPN. "People came up to me after the game asking, ‘What's wrong with your team?' I said, ‘What do you mean? My team is Tufts.'"

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