Lauren Dillon of Wellesley leads her Tufts teammates, on and off the court

Anna Miller
Tufts' Lauren Dillon drives the ball up the court during a game against Williams College on Jan. 12. The Jumbos defeated the Ephs, 47-40.

Tufts University senior basketball captain Lauren Dillon never lets up defensively on the opposition’s top point guard or in sparking the Jumbos with timely baskets, steals, and passes.

The program’s career assist leader, the 5-foot-3 Dillon ranked third in the New England Small College Athletic Conference in steals and seventh in assists while averaging 6.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Tufts was 16-3 overall, 4-1 in the NESCAC.


“She’s the toughest player I’ve ever coached,’’ said Jumbos head coach Carla Berube of last year’s NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year. “Lauren is a great communicator, a two-time captain who practices what she preaches, plays hard every day, and is an inspiration to her teammates.’’

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A Wellesley resident who majors in Child Study and Human Development, Dillon, 21, has played in the Division 3 national championship game the past two seasons, both losses, and the national semifinals as a first-year student.

Her basketball coach at Noble and Greenough, Alex Gallagher, said Dillon is the finest defensive guard he has coached. “There was a fearlessness about Lauren,’’ he said, “that took our program to another level.’’

Honored as Nobles’ Best Female Athlete and as the Independent School League’s basketball MVP, Dillon, who played three sports, was also the Globe’s 2014 New England Prep School Athlete of the Year. She helped lead the Nobles’ girls basketball team to four ISL titles and three New England Prep Class A championships.

Dillon, who interned with the Celtics last year, has taken on a leading role in Team Impact, which pairs the Tufts women’s basketball squad with Ashanti Sturgis, 15, of Cambridge, who has sickle cell anemia.

Q. How did playing three sports at Nobles help you make the transition to college basketball?


A. It has made me a more well-rounded athlete, and I’ve never had feelings of being burnt out because every new season is another chance to compete in something I love. It also meant playing three times as many high-pressure games, which prepared me for the many high-intensity games I’ve been lucky enough to play in at Tufts.

Q. What did your Media Relations internship with the Celtics entail?

A. It included post-game interviews with players in the locker room and transcribing them for the many media outlets. I started the first day of the Eastern Conference finals in May, which was a lot of fun and ended in late August. I love the Celtics, so it was an awesome experience.

Q. What has being a two-time captain meant to you?

A. It has been one of the most treasured experiences I’ve had in my life. The team-first culture and amazing groups of people that have gone through this program are unmatchable. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Q. What is your favorite memory at Nobles?

A. The day I took an admissions tour and met Alex Gallagher. He sat me and my friend Kate Kerrigan down and told us we were meant to play together and meant to play for him. From that day it was about way more than just basketball.

Q. What was your first exposure to organized basketball?

A. A co-ed YMCA league on those little hoops when I was about 4.

Q. In what ways has meeting Ashanti Sturgis enhanced your life?


A. Ashanti brightens my day every time I’m around her. I’ve learned so much from her positive outlook and that having a sense of humor can get you through just about anything.

Q. From what do you attribute your team-first attitude and tenacity on the court?

A. From my dad and mom, my family, past teams and captains, both my coaches, Alex and coach Berube. I feel like I was just born into a team. It’s the only mentality I’ve ever known and I wouldn’t choose to play any other way.

Q. What are your favorite free time pursuits?

A. I love the beach and traveling and I also love to sleep. I’m really good at it.

Q. What is your perspective after three trips to the Final Four ?

A. I’m hungrier than ever.


For complete interview, go to bostonglobe.com/west. Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com