STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College (22-4) slipped past Albertus Magnus College (14-12), 64-61, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinal at the Harold Alfond Center on Tuesday evening.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Early returns had the Monks running away with the victory, as a Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) three-pointer lifted the top seed in the GNAC North Division to a 23-10 lead over the #4 seed from the South Division with 3:12 remaining in the first quarter. Not about to go down without a fight, the Falcons responded with 13 unanswered points – including eight from junior forward Olivia Bolden (South Windsor, Conn.) – over the following five minutes as the contest stood at a 23-23 stalemate with 7:54 before the break.
Saint Joseph's endured a difficult second stanza, as evidenced by a 4-13 shooting effort and five turnovers, and heading into intermission trailing, 34-32.
The conference foes swapped the lead four times in the third frame and Albertus led by a 48-42 score after sophomore guard Jill Johnson (North Haven, Conn.) made a free throw with 2:39 remaining in the penultimate quarter.
The tide finally turned in favor of the Monks, who employed a 16-0 run to effectively transform a six-point deficit into a 58-50 advantage with 6:40 remaining. Junior Regan McFerran (Albany, N.Y.), senior Emily Kehoe (Perkinsville, Vt.), and Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) each hit a three-pointer and sophomore Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) netted five points during the game-changing offensive outbreak.
The Falcons managed to climb back into contention with an 11-4 surge of their own, as Ava Harris (New Haven, Conn.) capped the run with a three-pointer to make it a 62-61 game with 40 seconds left. But senior guard Abbie Eastman (Norway, Maine), fouled with 10 seconds on the clock, hit both freebies and the Monks foiled a last-chance play scripted by Albertus to escape with the 64-61 victory.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's advances to the semifinal round of the GNAC Tournament and will host Johnson & Wales University, the #2 seed in the South Division, at 6:00 PM on Thursday. Johnson & Wales defeated Rivier University, the #3 seed in the North Division, 66-52, in other quarterfinal action this evening.
For the Falcons, the loss signals the end of the 2016-17 campaign.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- McNamara tallied 18 points, three rebounds, four assists, and a pair of steals
- Benway produced a double-double, her seventh of the season, with 13 points and 10 caroms
- Champagne netted 13 points with six boards and four assists
- Eastman scored nine points with four rebounds and four assists
- McFerran chipped in with six points, four boards, and two dimes
LEADERS – ALBERTUS MAGNUS:
- Bolden led all players with 22 points and 14 rebounds in recording her 20th double-double of the season
- Johnson scored 11 points with six assists and three steals
- Junior guard Angelina Piccirillo (Naugatuck, Conn.) added 10 points and four assists
- Senior guard Liz Falcigno (Wallingford, Conn.) chipped in with five points, nine rebounds, two assists, and a pair of steals
- Harris came off the bench to net six points with five caroms and two steals
Saint Joseph's has now won 21-consecutive home games…McNamara tied the Monks' single season three-point field goal record when she netted her fourth trifecta of the night with 8:11 remaining, giving her 68 this winter…she ties the mark originally set by Kristen Chavarie '98 in 1998…McNamara also broke the SJC season three-point field goal attempts record tonight…she has launched 184 shots from downtown, surpassing the former record (179) set by Neile (Joler) Nelson '95 during the 1993-94 campaign.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.