STANDISH, ME – Third-seeded Saint Joseph's (18-8, 9-3 GNAC) toppled #6 Emerson College (9-17, 7-5 GNAC), 69-48, in the opening round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament at the Alfond Center on Tuesday night. Juniors Ashley Geel (St. George, ME) and Allie Parent (Camden, ME) led the Monks offensively with 12 points apiece in the victory.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's advances to the semifinal round and will play at #2 Suffolk University (17-9, 10-2 GNAC) on Thursday evening at 7:00 PM. Suffolk defeated #7 Mount Ida, 68-55, in another quarterfinal contest this evening.
The Monks notched their best shooting performance of the season in tonight's triumph, as the Royal Blue shot 51.9% (27-52) from the field in the conference quarterfinal against the Lions. St. Joe's shot a scorching 60% (18-30) in the first half and headed into intermission with a cushy 44-16 advantage.
St. Joe's featured a well-balanced attack as eight players tallied at least five points on the night. Abby Young '14 (North Yarmouth, ME) registered eight points and eight rebounds, Lindsay Moore '14 (Somersworth, NH) netted eight points and grabbed six boards, and Megan McDevitt '12 (Cumberland, ME) recorded seven points and five assists for the Royal Blue.
Casey Drake '11 (Lebanon, NH) and Amelia Lamb '12 (Topsham, ME) chipped in with six points apiece and Danyelle Shufelt '13 (Sutton, VT) contributed five points in the tourney triumph. Geel added five blocks and Alyssa Grigware '13 (Biddeford, ME) collected six caroms.
The Lions were led offensively by Elissa Chojnicki '14 (Dover, NH), who scored 14 points and went 4-7 from three-point distance. Kathy Andrade (Hull, MA), the Lions' lone senior, nearly registered a double-double with 11 points and nine boards in her final collegiate contest.
The visitors secured the first lead of the game when Andrade sank a pair of freebies 39 seconds after the opening buzzer, but the early advantage was short-lived as the Monks scored eight unanswered points to secure an 8-2 cushion with 17:04 on the first-half clock.
Saint Joseph's built on the early momentum and held a daunting 20-point lead – 27-7 – after Drake hit a jumpshot at the 6:47 mark. The Monks proceeded to outscore the Lions by a 15-4 margin over the next five minutes and held a 42-11 lead after Parent made a layup 1:48 before the break.
The Lions made only four field goals in the first half and shot 14.8% from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
St. Joe's increased its lead to a game-high 33 points – 63-30 – when Parent drained two free throws at the 10:10 mark of the second stanza.
Monks took complete control of the game with a 25-5 run over the following 13 minutes and held a 27-7 lead with 6:47 left in the opening period.
Overall, Saint Joseph's shot 51.9% (27-52) from the floor, 25% (3-12) from downtown, and 80% (12-15) from the FT line. Emerson shot 23.6% (13-55) from the field, 30% (6-20) from three-point distance, and 66.7% (16-24) from the charity stripe.
St. Joe's held advantages in rebounds (36-35), assists (20-8), points in the paint (42-10), and bench points (29-13) in the quarterfinal conquest.
The GNAC tourney win is the first for the Monks in four years as a league member and first conference tourney triumph since the Royal Blue defeated Maine-Presque Isle in the Maine Athletic Conference Tournament on February 24th, 2002. Prior to this evening's contest St. Joe's had advanced to the GNAC tourney twice and suffered opening-round setbacks on the road on both occasions.
With the win, St. Joe's improves to 3-2 in the history of the series with Emerson College.
Postgame interview with Head Coach Mike McDevitt '83: