STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College (23-4, 15-1 GNAC) will host Emmanuel College (20-7, 14-2 GNAC) in the 2017 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Basketball Tournament Championship on Saturday at 1:00 PM. The Monks earned the top seed in the GNAC North Division while the Saints claimed the #1 seed in the GNAC South Division.
These two teams are meeting in the conference championship for the second-consecutive season, as Saint Joseph's topped Emmanuel, 66-62, in the 2016 title bout.
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
Saint Joseph's fought through a pair of difficult tournament games earlier this week, as the Monks edged Albertus Magnus College, 64-61, in quarterfinal action on Tuesday and tipped Johnson & Wales University, 91-90 in double-overtime, in a GNAC semifinal on Thursday night.
Quarterfinal: #1N Saint Joseph's 64, #4S Albertus Magnus College, 61 (BOX)
DECIDING FACTOR: The Monks held a 20-8 lead in points off turnovers
- Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) tallied 18 points, three rebounds, four assists, and a pair of steals
- Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) produced a double-double, her seventh of the season, with 13 points and 10 caroms
- Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) netted 13 points with six boards and four assists
Semifinal: #1N Saint Joseph's 91, #2S Johnson & Wales University 90 (2OT) (BOX)
DECIDING FACTOR: The Monks shot 72.2% (26-36) from the FT line while the Wildcats posted a 65.2% (15-23) effort from the charity stripe
- McNamara led all players with 31 points and was 5-13 from downtown with four rebounds and seven assists
- Benway tallied 16 points and 11 boards with three blocks, two assists, and a pair of steals
- Champagne contributed 14 points, nine caroms, and four assists
Emmanuel cruised to the GNAC Championship with a pair of fairly easy victories. The Saints toppled Simmons College, 91-64, in a quarterfinal on Tuesday and outlasted Norwich University, 73-67, in a GNAC semifinal on Thursday evening.
Quarterfinal: #1S Emmanuel 91, #4N Simmons College, 64 (BOX)
DECIDING FACTOR: The Saints shot the lights out with a 54% (34-63) effort from the floor and a 46.7% (7-15) mark from beyond the arc
- Alisha Fox (National Park, N.J.) led all players with 21 points in 22 minutes off the bench and was 7-11 from the field
- Madison McLaughlin (Westerly, R.I.) added 16 points off the bench
- Jen Chalk (Horseheads, N.Y.) tallied 15 points and eight rebounds
Semifinal: #1S Emmanuel 73, #2N Norwich University, 67 (BOX)
DECIDING FACTOR: The Saints netted 22 points off 20 Norwich turnovers
- Chalk registered 17 points, five rebounds, and a pair of steals with a 7-11 effort from the FT line
- Olivia Marks (Canterbury, Conn.) chipped in with 12 points, three boards, three assists, two steals, and a pair of blocked shots
- Ryan Maynard (Bowie, Md.) contributed 10 points and two caroms
Saturday's victor earns an automatic qualifier into the 2017 NCAA DIII National Tournament, which begins on March 3rd. The complete bracket will be announced on a live selection show, available for viewing on NCAA.com at 2:30 PM, on Monday.
SEASON AT A GLANCE
Saint Joseph's (RESULTS):
- St. Joe's is 23-0 when scoring 62 points or more this season
- The Monks have won 22-consecutive home games, a streak that began last January, with a 15-0 record at home this year (second-longest home win streak in program history – 33 games (1998-1991))
- The Monks feature seven players who average at least 6.0 points per game
- The four teams who have defeated the Monks own a collective 75-24 (.758) record so far this season
- Saint Joseph's ranks second in the GNAC in FG% (39.3%), 3FG per game (7.3), 3FG% (33.6%), fewest turnovers per game (14.7), and fewest fouls per game (15.3) and third in assists per game (15.3), scoring (67.4) and scoring defense (57.2)
- Emmanuel has won 14 of the last 16 games with the only blemishes during the stretch being a 69-48 setback at the hands of #3 Tufts University (1/24) and a 75-64 loss to the Monks (2/8)
- The Saints are 18-0 when scoring at least 70 points in a contest this winter
- Emmanuel has a higher scoring average on the road (72.8-70.7) but sports slightly lower shooting percentages from the floor (43.5-45.1), three-point range (31.4-33.3), and the FT line (65.5-70.0) away from their home court
- With a deep roster, the Saints feature six players averaging at least 5.0 points per game and 12 different hoopsters average over 10 minutes per game on the floor
- Emmanuel leads the conference in points (1935), scoring (71.7 PPG), field goals per game (28.1), FG% (44.4%), assists per game (17.5), and steals per game (11.9)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Saint Joseph's (STATS):
- McNamara leads the SJC offense with 15.7 points per game and ranks as the GNAC-leader in three-pointers made (73) and assists (129) – she is also second in FT% (79.6%) and fourth in three-point percentage (37.1%)
- Benway averages 13.8 points and a team-high 8.8 rebounds per contest – the fifth-highest mark in the conference – and is currently third in the GNAC in field goal percentage (51.0%, 150-294) and fourth in field goals made (150)
- Sophomore guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) is an all-around contributor, averaging 9.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per contest and has been playing well down the stretch with 15.9 PPG over the last eight games
- Chalk leads the Saints in scoring (13.0 PPG) and rebounding (5.6 RPG) and ranks fifth in the GNAC in FG% (49.0%, 142-290) and FT% (76.7%, 66-86)
- Fox averages 9.5 PPG and leads the conference in three-point shooting with a 42.9% (30-70) clip – she is also sixth in FG% (47.3%, 97-205) and eighth in steals (50)
- Alexis Ezell (Acworth, Ga.) contributes 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 66.7% (96-144) from the field and 71.6% (48-67) from the FT line
ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP:
Among the most successful coaches in all of NCAA DIII Women's Basketball, McDevitt ranks 20th among active coaches in both winning percentage and victories. Only three coaches in New England have more wins and four have a higher win rate.
During his tenure at Saint Joseph's, Coach McDevitt has guided the Monks to at least 20 wins in 16 different seasons, the ninth-highest total in the history of NCAA DIII Women's Basketball. During his career, McDevitt has garnered eight Coach of the Year accolades, including the GNAC honor in 2014.
Emmanuel: Andy Yosinoff (788-267, .747) – 40th collegiate season (BIO)
One of the few New England women's basketball coaches to possess a more impressive résumé than McDevitt, Yosinoff ranks first in career victories among active NCAA DIII Women's Basketball skippers and second all-time with 768 wins. Last season, he became the NCAA DIII women's hoops career games leader (1,055 and counting) and – with 22 20-win seasons – is one of only seven DIII Women's Basketball coaches with 20-plus twenty-win campaigns.
Coach Yosinoff has led Emmanuel to 15 GNAC Championships, 18 NCAA Tournament berths – including advancements to three Sweet Sixteen's, two Elite Eights, and one Final Four – and nine ECAC Tournament appearances
THE LAST TIME WE MET (BOX):
These two teams last played on February 8th, when Saint Joseph's defeated Emmanuel by a 75-64 margin in Standish.
Saint Joseph's trailed for the better part of the first two quarters, but rallied with an 11-2 run in the final minutes of the second stanza to tie the game at 35-35 heading into intermission.
The Monks did not claim their first lead of the night until junior forward Regan McFerran (Albany, N.Y.) converted a fast-break layup off a Champagne steal to make it a 37-35 game 12 seconds into the third frame.
St. Joe's held the lead for the remainder of the contest, but did not secure a comfortable advantage until McNamara netted five unanswered points to lifter her squad to a 71-64 cushion with 1:41 left.
The Monks held the Saints to a single free throw in the final four minutes as the visitors went 0-4 from the field down the stretch. McNamara went 4-4 from the FT line in the closing 50 seconds to ice the victory.
Saint Joseph's is 4-17 all-time versus Emmanuel College, but the Monks have defeated the Saints in consecutive games, including the 66-62 GNAC Championship triumph last winter. Both of the Monks' two wins over the Saints in the last calendar year took place at the Alfond Center.
GNAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY:
The Monks have appeared in the GNAC Tournament in nine of 10 seasons as a member of the conference and claimed the program's first GNAC Championship in 2014, when the Royal Blue defeated Norwich University, 63-47, in the title game at the Alfond Center on March 1st, 2014.
As the top seed in the 2016 conference tournament, Saint Joseph's defeated perennial powerhouse Emmanuel College, 66-62, in the GNAC Championship in Standish to claim the team's second automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament in the last three seasons.
The Monks are 11-0 at home – and 12-6 overall - in GNAC postseason play since joining the conference in 2007.
The Saints are in the midst of their 22nd GNAC Tournament run and have dominated the conference with 15 GNAC Championships. Saturday's contest marks Emmanuel's 19th appearance in the GNAC title match.
Emmanuel, winners of seven-consecutive conference crowns from 2007 to 13, has not claimed the GNAC title since 2013, as Saint Joseph's won the championship in 2014 and 2016 and Johnson & Wales captured the championship in 2015.
The game can be watched live on our free high-definition online channel, www.gomonks.tv, and can also be followed via live stats as well as the Saint Joseph's Athletics Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snap Chat feeds.
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.