MILTON, Mass. – Saint Joseph's College started off the 2014-15 season with a convincing 73-50 victory over MIT in the opening round of the Curry College Women's Basketball Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday afternoon. Freshmen Emily Quirion (Augusta, Maine) and Norma Waggett (Saugus, Mass.) led the Monks offensively with 12 points apiece in the triumph.
Having lost four starters from last season's GNAC Championship team, the new-look Monks received major contributions from the bench as the Royal Blue reserves outscored the Engineers' subs by a whopping 47-0 margin in the 23-point win. The Monks also scored 22 points off 19 MIT turnovers and posted a solid 56.3% (9-16) success rate from three-point distance on the afternoon.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's advances to the invitational championship and will face host Curry – which bested Southern Vermont by a 78-56 score in today's latter contest -in the title bout at 3:00 PM on Sunday. The Monks topped the Colonels, 68-55, in the tip-off championship last season. MIT plays Southern Vermont in the consolation game, which begins at 1:00 PM tomorrow.
The Monks led for the vast majority of play as the Engineers' only advantage on the afternoon occurred after junior forward Maya Ramachandran (Fremont, Calif.) capped an 8-0 run to provide her team with an 8-6 edge with 14:50 left in the first half. St. Joe's proceeded to claim the lead for good with a trio of threes, two from freshman Hayley Quirion (Augusta, Maine) and the other from junior Shannon McFayden (Ipswich, Mass.), which accounted for a 9-2 surge that saw the Royal Blue secure a 27-15 cushion eight minutes later.
MIT netted seven unanswered points to cut the SJC lead to 31-27 with 1:20 before the break, but Emily Quirion drained her first NCAA three pointer 32 seconds later to lift the Monks to a 34-27 advantage going into intermission.
Early in the second stanza, sophomore guard Emily Kehoe (Perkinsville, Vt.) propelled St. Joe's to a double-digit lead with a pair of buckets with the later lifting the Monks to a 38-27 cushion with 16:08 remaining.
Saint Joseph's managed to put the game away with a 24-8 run over the next 12 minutes, a span during which the Engineers went 3-14 from the field with six turnovers. Waggett closed out the impressive outburst with a layup off a Cassidy Grover (Gray, Maine) pass, a play that lifted the Monks to a game-high 27-point (62-35) lead with 4:45 on the clock.
Overall, Saint Joseph's shot 44.1% (26-59) from the floor, 56.3% (9-16) from downtown and 70.6% (12-17) from the FT line while MIT posted averages of 41.1% (23-56), 14.3% (2-14) and 25% (2-8) from the field, three-point land and the charity stripe, respectively.
The Monks also held advantages in rebounds (41-32), assists (11-6) and steals (9-7) on the afternoon.
For St. Joe's, senior Sarah Assante (Standish, Maine) totaled 11 points, six rebounds, two steals and a pair of assists, Hayley Quirion scored 11 and was 3-4 from long distance in her collegiate debut and McFayden scored eight points while shooting 2-3 from beyond the arc in just six minutes of playing time. Sophomore Abbie Eastman (Norway, Maine) pulled down a career-high nine rebounds and Kehoe chipped in six points off a 3-4 shooting performance from the field.
For MIT, junior guard Sabrina Drammis (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) netted a game-high 18 points with nine boards and Ramachandran scored 12 points with six caroms in a losing effort.
The Monks are now 24-14 (.632), including a 16-5 (.762) mark under Head Coach Mike McDevitt, in season-openers…St. Joe's is now 1-1 all-time versus MIT, a team the Monks had not faced since suffering a 78-56 loss at the hands of the Engineers on November 18th, 2005…Saint Joseph's has allowed 50 or fewer points in four-consecutive opening games…Assante, Kehoe, Eastman and Molly Mack (Portland, Maine/McAuley) all made their first collegiate starts this afternoon…Waggett, Grover, Hayley Quirion, Emily Quirion, Brianna Holdren (Portland, Maine), Regan McFerran (Albany, N.Y.) and Emily DeLuca (Gorham, Maine) all made their NCAA debuts in today's win.
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 430-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.