STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's College (16-5, 6-1 GNAC) defeated Rivier University (17-4, 7-1 GNAC), 69-63, in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's basketball action at the Harold AlfondHarold Alfond Center on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore center Morgan Cahill (Yarmouth, Maine) tallied 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocked shots in the victory.
In a game that featured two very different halves, the Monks seemed to take control early and utilized a 15-2 run to gain a 24-10 lead midway through the opening frame. Saint Joseph's carried a daunting 48-22 advantage into intermission and led by 30 points (54-24) after Cahill converted a layup 2:46 into the second stanza.
But the Monks' offense hit the wall for the remainder of the latter half, as the Royal Blue mustered just four field goals over the last 17 minutes of play and failed to convert a bucket in the closing 10 minutes of the conference contest.
In the meantime, the Raiders took advantage of the hosts' inability to score and mounted several impressive offensive runs to cut their deficit down to single digits. Freshman Danica Gleason (South Portland, Maine) nailed a three-pointer at the 10:21 mark to lift the Monks to a 66-44 lead, but the field goal turned out to be the hosts' final basket of the game. Rivier proceeded to score 19 unanswered points over the following nine minutes, as a three-pointer from A.J. Guidi (Derry, N.H.) capped the surge and made it a three-point (66-63) game with 1:20 remaining.
Forced to foul with time winding down, Rivier senior guard Ryan Baker (Whitinsville, Mass.) hacked Saint Joseph's junior Sarah Assante (Standish, Maine), who made one of two shots from the FT line to extend the SJC cushion to 67-63 with 51 seconds left. After a missed three-pointer from Savannah Butterfield (Londonderry, N.H.), the Raiders fouled Theresa Hendrix (Scarborough, Maine/Cheverus) on the hosts' next trip down the court and the senior guard all but sealed the victory by making both attempts from the charity stripe with 19 seconds to play.
For Saint Joseph's, senior forward Abby Young (North Yarmouth, Maine) produced 14 points and seven rebounds, senior guard Mackenzie Dufour (Augusta, Maine) added 11 points, five assists and three caroms and Gleason was 3-6 from downtown with nine points in the victory. Assante added four steals while Skyler Makkinje (Hillsboro, N.H.) and Abbie Eastman (Perkinsville, Vt.) contributed five points and two rebounds apiece on the afternoon.
For Rivier, Butterfield netted 18 with seven rebounds, three steals and a pair of rejections, junior guard Deanna Purcell (Hudson, N.H.) registered 13 points, seven boards, three assists and three steals, Baker added nine points, five assists and four caroms, and Guidi chipped in with seven points and six rebounds in a losing effort.
Saint Joseph's shot 46.6% (27-58) from the field, 47.1% (8-17) from three-point range, and 70% (7-10) from the free throw line while Rivier posted percentages of 39.3% (24-61), 22.7% (5-22) and 71.4% (10-14) from the floor, downtown and the charity stripe, respectively.
The Monks held advantages in rebounds (39-35), assists (21-16), points in the paint (32-20) and bench points (17-14) in the victory.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday when the Monks play at Simmons College in a conference contest slated to start at 7:00 PM and the Raiders take on Trinity College in a non-league tilt set to begin at 5:30 PM.
Saint Joseph's improves to 7-4 all-time versus Rivier University with today's victory…the Raiders entered this afternoon's contest riding a seven-game winning streak with just one loss in their last 13 games…for Rivier, today's point tally counts as the team's third-fewest of the season and least since defeating Framingham State, 60-47, on December 3rd…the Monks' first-half offensive output (48) is the team's most since SJC scored 49 in the first half of a 95-54 victory over Maine-Fort Kent on January 7th, 2012…eight three-pointers made is a single-game season-high for the Monks...Cahill picked up the 100th blocked shot of her career in the triumph and is one of just four players in program history (Ashley Geel '12, Abbie Rice '04 and Mary Lou Kimball '89 being the others) to reach the century mark in rejections.
Saint Joseph's is 5-2 in the history of the series with Simmons College and has defeated the Sharks in three-consecutive meetings…Simmons is 2-16 overall and 0-7 in conference play so far this season…the Sharks suffered a 71-52 loss at the hands of Lasell College earlier this afternoon.
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.