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Jill Pace - Head Coach

Jill Pace enters her fourth season as head coach in 2022-2023.

In the 2021-2022 season, the Jumbos finished 22-5 and made the program’s 11th straight “Sweet Sixteen” appearance. Two years prior, in 2019-2020, she directed the team to wins in their first 26 games—a new Tufts record—and to a 28–1 final mark. The Jumbos were in strong contention for the NCAA championship, but as Tufts was preparing to host the “Sweet Sixteen,” the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. The team finished the year ranked second in the D3hoops national poll and posted a perfect 10–0 NESCAC season for first place in the league.

Pace has coached two Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Americans in Maggie Russell and Erica DeCandido. DeCandido was also named D3hoops National Player of the Year and NESCAC Player of the Year during her senior season. Three Jumbos have received NESCAC All-Conference nods under Pace, in addition to 12 players earning NESCAC All-Academic selections. In 2019-20, Pace was named NESCAC Coach of the Year as well as D3hoops, WBCA, and NEWBA regional Coach of the Year.

From 2016-2019, Pace was the head coach at Pomona-Pitzer in Claremont, CA. The team finished the 2016-2017 season with a record of 1-23. The Sagehens improved to 8-17 for 2017-18 and then had an historic 2018-19 season finishing 22-6 including 14-2 in the league. The team won the program's first-ever Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship and posted 20 or more victories for the first time since 1991. Directing the team to its first NCAA appearance since 2002, Pace was named SCIAC Coach of the Year and D3hoops West Region Coach of the Year. 

Pace was an assistant coach under former Tufts head coach Carla Berube for two seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16. The Jumbos advanced to the NCAA "Final Four" in both years, including playing in the NCAA Championship Game in 2016. The 2014-15 team won the NESCAC title. 

A 2012 graduate of Bowdoin College, Pace earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and gender and women's studies. She played on teams that earned NCAA Tournament berths all four years and was also a part of the 2009 NESCAC Championship team. A captain of the 2011-12 Polar Bears, Pace is 12th on the all-time scoring list with 1,085 points. The 485 points she scored as a senior are the fifth-most in a single season in Bowdoin history. A WBCA Honorable Mention All-American as a senior, Pace was also a NESCAC All-Academic honoree and a three-time NESCAC All-Conference selection during her Bowdoin career.

Originally from Bath, Maine, Pace (formerly Jill Henrikson) got her start in coaching at Smith College in 2013-14 where she helped the Pioneers earn their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and first-ever NCAA win. She also received a master's degree from Smith in exercise and sport studies. 

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Sam Mancinelli - Assistant Coach

Sam Mancinelli, a three-year captain of the Roger Williams University women's basketball team, has joined the Tufts University team's staff as an assistant coach.

Mancinelli was the point guard for a Hawks team which finished last season 25-3 overall and won the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship. She averaged 8.1 points and 4.4 assists per game and was ranked third in the nation for assist/turnover ratio. Her 124 total assists were second in the league and 28th nationally. Mancinelli was an All-Conference selection and was named the CCC Scholar Athlete of the Year.

A 2021 graduate with summa cum laude honors from Roger Williams, Mancinelli earned her degree in criminal justice. She then earned a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice in 2022. Her time at Roger Williams also included serving as the intramurals coordinator and as an administrative assistant.

Mancinelli has been working as an assistant coach with the Rhode Island Basketball Club since March of this year. 

From nearby Peabody, Massachusetts, Mancinelli attended Bishop Fenwick High School where she helped the team win a state championship in 2016. 

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Vanese Barnes - Assistant Coach

Vanese Barnes, a 2019 graduate of St. Joseph's College in Maine who has four years of coaching experience, has been hired by the Tufts University Department of Athletics for the new Tufts Athletics Future Leaders Fellowship assistant coaching position with women's basketball.

As part of this two-year program, Barnes will pursue a master's degree in Diversity and Inclusion Leadership within the Tufts Graduate School of Arts & Sciences while serving as a graduate assistant coach for the Jumbo women's basketball team. This graduate fellowship was done in partnership with the A&S Graduate School.

Barnes earned a degree in elementary education at St. Joseph's, where she was a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship team in 2017-18. She previously played at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, Maine from 2015-17, and was captain of the team and selected as a United States Collegiate Athletic Association Academic All-American in 2017. Barnes played four sports at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, Maine - basketball, soccer, track and softball.

Since graduating from college, Barnes has been an assistant coach for Southern Maine Community College where she temporarily took over the lead role while the head coach was out on maternity leave. She was also a varsity assistant and the junior varsity head coach at Portland High School for a year. During the 2020-22 school years, she taught at Park Avenue Elementary School in Auburn, Maine. She has also participated in a number of professional development opportunities in recent years, including being a member of the Maine Women's Basketball Coaches Development Series since 2020.

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