STANDISH, ME – Senior center Ashley Geel (St. George, Maine) registered 14 points and eight rebounds to help Saint Joseph's (9-5, 3-0 GNAC) defeat Mount Ida College (8-7, 2-2 GNAC), 70-54, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's basketball contest at the Harold Alfond Center on Monday night.
Buoyed by a 7-10 shooting performance from three-point distance, Mount Ida carried a 33-29 lead into halftime, but the Mustangs' shooters cooled considerably in the second stanza and St. Joe's opened the final frame with eight unanswered points to secure a lead that the hosts would not relinquish.
Saint Joseph's started the first half, which featured seven lead changes and was tied on five occasions, on a 6-0 run, but the Mustangs answered by netting a trio of trifectas during a 13-4 surge and held a 13-10 cushion when senior center Katie Morvan (Northbridge, Mass.) hit a jumpshot at the 11:54 mark.
The lead swapped hands six times over the next nine minutes and neither team would hold more than a two-point edge until Mount Ida opened up an 8-3 scoring outburst that saw the visitors take a four-point advantage into intermission.
St. Joe's shot 50% from the floor and 75% from the free throw line, but missed all four shots from three-point distance in the first half. Mount Ida shot better from outside the arc (70%, 7-10) than in (37.5%, 6-16) and did not venture to the FT line in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Geel led all first-half scorers with 10 points off a 5-6 shooting effort while Shannon Wood (Gorham, Maine/McAuley) and Abbey Fedigan (New Fairfield, Conn.) netted nine points apiece for the Mustangs in the opening period.
The halftime adjustments made by the SJC coaching staff certainly paid dividends as the Royal Blue rolled out eight straight points, with six coming from sophomore forward Lindsay Moore (Barrington, N.H.), and held a 37-33 lead after senior forward Allie Parent (Camden, Maine) tapped in a layup at the 16:56 mark.
Fedigan immediately cut the Mustangs' deficit back down to two points with a jumper, but junior guard Danyelle Shufelt (Sutton, Vt.) and sophomore point guard Mackenzie Dufour (Augusta, Maine) both drilled three pointers over the subsequent three minutes to extend the hosts' cushion to 43-37.
Morvan netted a jumpshot for the visitors to make it a 45-41 game with 12:02 remaining, but Saint Joseph's proceeded to post a 17-4 run which was capped with another Dufour three pointer at the 6:46 mark to push the Monks to their largest lead, 62-45, of the night.
Evebonee Acosta (Hartford, Conn.) scored a layup for Mount Ida to cut the SJC lead to 62-49 with 3:08 to go, but four different St. Joe's players combined to shoot 8-10 from the free throw line in the final minutes to help clinch the victory.
For the Monks, Moore added another impressive outing with 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists and Parent netted 12 points off a 5-8 shooting performance from the field. Senior guard Megan McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine) added eight points, four boards and four assists and Dufour contributed eight points and five dimes in the conference victory.
For the Mustangs, Wood tallied a game-high 16 points and recorded four boards and three assists and Fedigan played well with 13 points, five caroms and three assists. Acosta chipped in with nine points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in the losing effort.
Overall, St. Joe's shot 50% (26-52) from the floor, 25% (3-12) from three-point range, and 83.3% (15-18) from the charity stripe. Mount Ida, which shot just 26.7% from the field and 16.7% from downtown in the latter stanza, countered by shooting 37.5% (21-56) overall, 50% (8-16) from beyond the arc, and 50% (4-8) from the FT line.
Saint Joseph's held advantages in rebounds (35-27), assists (16-13), points in the paint (36-16), points off turnovers (16-2), second-chance points (10-4), and bench points (18-6) on the night. The Monks posted season-low totals in turnovers (9) and personal fouls (8) against the Mustangs.
With the win, Saint Joseph's improves to 4-1 in the history of the series with Mount Ida College.
Both teams will host GNAC foes on Wednesday evening, as St. Joe's takes on Saint Joseph (Conn.) at 7:00 PM and Mount Ida faces cross-town rival Lasell College in a 6:00 PM tip-off.