STANDISH, Maine – #12/14 Saint Joseph's College (27-1, 12-1 GNAC) will face off against New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Champion Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (21-7, 12-4 NEWMAC) in the opening round of the NCAA DIII Women's Basketball Tournament at Ben Light Gymnasium in Ithaca, New York on Friday at 5:00 PM.
$7 – For Adults
$4 – For Youths, Students and Senior Citizens
Live Video: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/ithaca/
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
Saint Joseph's – ranked 12th and 14th nationally in this week's WBCA and D3Hoops.com polls, respectively - is one of 20 teams in the nation to earn an at-large (Pool C) berth. The Monks join Amherst, Bowdoin, Middlebury, and Smith among the five New England Region programs to gain entrance into the national tournament after failing to win their respective conference championship.
As the #4 seed in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament, MIT knocked off top-seeded Babson College in a semifinal matchup on Thursday and defeated #3 Springfield College, 66-50, on Saturday to claim the program's second-consecutive NEWMAC Championship.
The winner of tonight's second contest, featuring Ithaca College and SUNY Poly, will face either the Monks or Engineers in a Second Round matchup at Ben Light Gymnasium at 5:00 PM on Saturday.
SEASON AT A GLANCE
- The Monks' perfect regular season (27-0) was the first in program and GNAC women's basketball history; Saint Joseph's was one of just three teams in the nation to remain undefeated throughout the regular season
- St. Joe's won a college-record 51-consecutive home games and carried a 38-game winning streak versus GNAC opponents into the championship contest versus Emmanuel last Saturday
- Four of the Monks' five starters are averaging at least 11.0 PPG
- Saint Joseph's, ranked sixth in this week's NCAA DIII Northeast Regional Rankings, leads the GNAC in three-pointers made per game (9.6), three-pointers attempted per game (26.3), three-point FG% (36.6%), fewest turnovers per game (12.2), fewest points per game allowed (56.9), and opponents' three-point FG% (27.5%)
- In NCAA Division III Women's Basketball, the Monks rank first in assistant turnover ratio (1.48) and second in win-loss percentage (96.4%)
- MIT enters the NCAA Tournament riding a five-game winning streak
- Four of the Engineers' seven losses this season came at the hands of regionally ranked teams (Babson (2), Smith, Bowdoin) with another setback (81-72) to University of Chicago, which was ranked eighth in the country at the time
- Through 28 games, the Engineers lead the New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in fewest points per game allowed (52.1) and blocks per game (4.2) and rank second in three-point percentage (36.4%), three-pointers made per game (7.3) and fewest turnovers per game (14.3)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
- (#10) Senior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.), the 2019 GNAC Player of the Year honoree, is averaging 21.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game while shooting 44.2% (192-434) from the floor, 37.6% (85-226) from downtown, and 88.1% (118-134) from the FT line this season; she currently ranks second in NCAA DIII Women's Basketball in assists (193), fifth in assists average, sixth in points (587) and three-pointers made, seventh in FT%, 10th in assist/turnover ratio (2.64), and 11th in scoring average
- (#41) Senior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.), a three-time All-GNAC selection, is averaging 12.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game and leads the GNAC in field goal percentage (57.6%), ranks third in offensive rebounds (118), fifth in total rebounds (256), and sixth in rebounding average
- (#14) Senior guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine), a two-time All-Conference honoree, is averaging 13.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game and currently ranks fifth in the conference in three-point shooting percentage (37.2%) and seventh in three-pointers made (51)
- (#22) Senior guard Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine), who claimed her first All-GNAC nod this winter, contributes 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per contest and – for the second-consecutive season – leads the conference in three-point percentage (41.0%, 64-156); she also ranks third in three-pointers made (64) and fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.7)
- (#35) Senior guard Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) is the lone Engineer averaging double digits (11.3 PPG) while tallying 3.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contests; through 28 games, Holinski ranks second in the NEWMAC in three-point attempts (64-158) and third in three-point percentage (40.5%) and assist/turnover ratio (1.8)
- (#34) Senior guard Taylor V'Dovec (Blaine, Wash.), in just under 25 minutes per game, is ranked seventh in the NEWMAC in shooting percentage (47.8%) while averaging 9.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game
- (#05) Freshman guard Christina Antonakakis (Holmdel, N.J.) stands second in the NEWMAC in three-point percentage (42.9%) and third in three-point attempts (42-98) while averaging 9.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game
ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP:
Saint Joseph's: Mike McDevitt '83 (555-194, .742) - 27th collegiate season
Among the most successful coaches in all of NCAA DIII Women's Basketball, McDevitt – the 2019 GNAC Coach of the Year - ranks 17th among active coaches in victories and 24th in winning percentage. Only three coaches in New England have more wins and four (10+ years) have a higher win rate.
During his tenure at Saint Joseph's, Coach McDevitt has guided the Monks to at least 20 wins in 18 different seasons, the sixth-highest total in the history of NCAA DIII Women's Basketball, with 18 championships. During his career, McDevitt has garnered 13 'Coach of the Year' accolades, including GNAC, Maine Women's Basketball Coaches Association (MWBCA), and New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) honors last season.
MIT: Sonia Raman (137-142, .491) – 11th collegiate season
The 2016 and 2017 NEWMAC Coach of the Year, Sonia Raman is MIT's all-time winningest coach. In 2018, she guided MIT to its first NEWMAC title and NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
Under Raman's tutelage, MIT has generated 52 NEWMAC Academic All-Conference accolades, including a league and program-high eight during the 2017-18 season. The Engineers have appeared in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Academic Top 25 on five occasions, highlighted by top-10 placements in 2010-11 (third place), 2016-17 (seventh place), and 2017-18 (fifth place).
THE LAST TIME WE MET:
These two teams last met on November 15th, 2014 at the Curry College Tip-Off Tournament with the Monks winning by a 73-50 score.
The Monks and Engineers shared three common foes this season: Simmons, Emmanuel, and Framingham State. St. Joe's toppled Simmons (72-45), split with Emmanuel (W, 79-69/L, 64-65), and defeated Framingham State (72-59) while MIT won all three contests by scores of 78-46, 72-69, and 62-53, respectively.
Tonight's NCAA Tournament bout will be the third meeting between the Saint Joseph's and MIT women's basketball programs and first since November 15th, 2014 when the Monks topped the Engineers by a 73-50 margin at the Curry College Tip-Off Tournament. The Engineers won the first matchup, 78-56, at MIT on November 18th, 2005.
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY:
The Monks will be making their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last six years. Saint Joseph's picked up the program's first NCAA tourney triumph with a 61-56 win over UMass.-Boston in the first round of the 2018 tournament before falling to eventual repeat national champion Amherst College, 53-47, the following day.
In the team's previous three trips, the Monks suffered first-round exits at the hands of Tufts University (2014 & 2017) and Christopher Newport (2016).
MIT, which fell to Marymount University in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, will be making their second appearance in the "Big Dance" this evening.