NEWTON, MA – Saint Joseph's (17-8, 9-3 GNAC) closed out the 2010-11 regular season with a 66-62 victory over conference-foe Mount Ida College (9-16, 5-7 GNAC) on Saturday afternoon. Ashley Geel '12 (St. George, ME) scored a career-high 26 points with eight boards and four blocked shots in the triumph.
With the win St. Joe's has clinched the #3 seed in the upcoming Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament. The Monks will host #6 Emerson College on Tuesday night (tip-off TBD) in what will be the team's first GNAC tourney tilt at the Alfond Center. St. Joe's topped Emerson earlier this season by a 61-51 score.
Winners of four straight, Saint Joseph's seems to be peaking at the right time heading into the tourney. The Monks proved to be a deserving host for a tourney tilt by winning the quartet of GNAC games down the stretch and capped the regular-season docket with the most wins since the 2001-02 campaign.
Geel, who now has 147 career rejections, became the Monks' all-time leader in blocks in the victory. The junior surpassed Abbie Rice '04, who tallied 146 blocks in 103 career games. Geel owns the record after just 74 career contests.
For the Monks, Lindsay Moore '14 (Somersworth, NH) tallied 11 points and six boards and Megan McDevitt '12 (Cumberland, ME) added 10 points. Allie Parent '12 (Camden, ME) and Abby Young '14 (North Yarmouth, ME) both contributed seven points in the triumph.
For the Mustangs, Shannon Wood netted 24 points and Jeileen Rivera chipped in with 11 points and six caroms.
Saint Joseph's held an advantage for 35 of the 40 minutes and led by a game-high 13 – 28-15 – after McDevitt made a three-pointer to cap a 13-1 run at the 5:29 mark of the first half. The Mustangs cut their deficit to single digits with a 6-0 run late in the half and trailed 31-24 heading into intermission.
Geel led all players with 14 first-half points and Rivera netted nine to pace the hosts in the opening stanza.
The Monks shot 48.1% overall, 25% from three-point range, and 66.7% from the charity stripe in the first half. Mount Ida shot 26.9% from the floor, 28.6% from beyond the arc, and 53.3% from the FT line over the first 20 minutes.
It was a two-possession contest for much of the second half, but the Royal Blue was able to momentarily put the game out of reach with a 7-0 burst mid-way through the latter period. As a result, the Monks held a 48-37 cushion with 10:59 on the game clock.
Saint Joseph's led 61-50 after Young made a layup at the 2:11 mark, but five quick points from Wood made the closing minutes interesting. Fortunately, the Monks made five of six freebie attempts in the final 20 seconds to hold off the upstart Mustangs.
The Monks shot 46.2% (24-52) from the field, 37.5% (3-8) from downtown, and 68.2% (15-22) from the free-throw line. The Mustangs shot 35% (21-60) overall, 33.3% (6-18) from three-point range, and 63.6% (14-22) from the charity stripe.
Saint Joseph's came out on top thanks to a 40-22 lead in points in the paint and held slim advantages in rebounding (38-37), assists (14-10) and bench points (25-20) in the win.
With the triumph, St. Joe's improves to 3-1 in the history of the series with Mount Ida.