Saints Stun Monks in GNAC Championship, 65-64

Saints Stun Monks in GNAC Championship, 65-64

STANDISH, Maine - #2 Emmanuel College (23-5) stunned top-seeded – and three-time defending GNAC champion - Saint Joseph's College (27-1), 65-64, in the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Basketball Championship at the Harold Alfond Center on Saturday afternoon.

With the victory, Emmanuel earns the GNAC's automatic qualifier into the 2019 NCAA DIII Women's Basketball Tournament. The Saints will be making their 19th appearance in the national tournament and first since 2013.

The Monks, ranked eighth and 10th in this week's and WBCA national polls, respectively, and listed fourth in the NCAA Regional Rankings for the second-consecutive week, have hopes of earning an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament and will learn their fate on Monday when the entire field is announced live on at 2:30 PM.


In a tight game featuring eight tie scores and 13 lead changes where neither team held an advantage greater than seven points, the deciding play did not take place until the closing seconds. The Monks held a 64-63 edge after senior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) made a layup with 23 seconds left, but senior guard Maddie McLaughlin (Westerly, R.I.) was fouled on a drive to the basket and – under immense pressure - made both of her free throws to give her team the lead.

Saint Joseph's had a chance to retake the lead but Emmanuel junior guard Kayla Weaver (West Haven, Conn.) forced a turnover and was fouled with 1.8 seconds remaining. Although Weaver missed both of her attempts from the line and senior guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) grabbed the defensive board, the Monks were out of timeouts and did not have near enough time to move the ball to a reasonable shooting distance.


The Saints held a 42-18 lead in points in the paint and outrebounded the Monks by a 48-36 margin…Saint Joseph's shot 34.3% (23-67) from the field, the team's lowest mark this season, while Emmanuel notched a 46.4% (26-56) effort.


The setback brought a host of streaks to a close for the Monks, who entered today's title bout having won 51-consecutive home games with 17-straight victories at home in the GNAC Tournament and 38 wins in a row versus conference opponents.


  • Senior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) netted 18 points with five assists, three rebounds, and a pair of steals
  • Champagne netted 16 points with eight rebounds and two assists
  • Senior guard Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine) chipped in with 12 points and four boards
  • Benway finished the game with nine points, 11 caroms, and three assists


  • Junior guard Yuleska Ramirez-Tejada (South Boston, Mass.) posted a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds and scored her 1,000th point during the game
  • Weaver added 17 points, seven boards, three assists, and a pair of steals
  • McLaughlin chipped in with 10 points, eight assists, five caroms, and two steals


MVP - Yuleska Ramirez-Tejada, Emmanuel

Maddy McLaughlin, Emmanuel

Mary McCarthy, Emmanuel

Kelsi McNamara, Saint Joseph's

Julia Champagne, Saint Joseph's

Jill Johnson, Albertus Magnus

Jenni-Rose DiCecco, Suffolk





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Founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy in Portland, Maine, Saint Joseph’s College is Maine’s Catholic liberal arts college in the Mercy tradition. We are inclusive of all faiths, including no faith. The 474-acre campus, located on the shore of Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine offers more than 40 undergraduate programs and a Division III athletic program to a population of approximately 1,000 on-campus students. A pioneer of distance education since the 1970s, the College also provides online certificates and undergraduate and graduate degrees for thousands more working adults who reside in more than 20 other countries. In 2015 the College was selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to receive its Community Engagement Classification, highlighting the College’s focus on community service throughout its mission and daily interactions within local, regional, and global communities. In 2018, Princeton Review recognized SJC as one of its “Green Colleges” for its sustainability initiatives. Learn more at