STANDISH, Maine – 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Champion Saint Joseph's College (27-1, 16-0 GNAC) will face off against Little East Conference (LEC) Champion UMass.-Boston (25-3, 12-2 LEC) in the opening round of the NCAA DIII Women's Basketball Tournament at LeFrak Gymnasium in Amherst, Massachusetts on Friday at 5:00 PM.
Adults ($7) - Students & Sr. Citizens ($4) - Children Ages Below 2 (FREE)
One ticket good for both games on Friday. Separate admission for Saturday's game.
Tickets will be on sale at the door beginning one hour prior to each session. Cash only. Seating capacity: 2400
Live Video: https://www.nsnsports.net/colleges/amherst/
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
Saint Joseph's defeated Suffolk University, 73-59, in the GNAC Championship game at the Harold Alfond Center on Saturday. With the victory, the Monks secured their third-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth - and fourth in the last five seasons.
UMass.-Boston upset top-seeded UMass.-Dartmouth - on the road - in the LEC Championship last Saturday. With the win, the Beacons secured their first NCAA Tournament berth in program history.
The winner of Friday night's second contest, featuring Amherst College and Becker College, will face either the Monks or Beacons in a Second Round matchup at LeFrak Gymnasium at 6:00 PM on Saturday.
SEASON AT A GLANCE:
- The Monks have won 26-consecutive games - the longest winning streak in SJC Athletics history
- The Monks' 27-win total is the most ever recorded by an SJC basketball team
- All five of the Monks' starters are averaging at least 6.0 PPG with four carrying double-digit outputs into Friday's contest
- Saint Joseph's ranks third nationally in winning percentage (96.4), fourth in scoring margin (25.1), seventh in assist/turnover ratio (1.27), three-pointers made (236) and three-pointers made per game (8.7), and ninth in three-point percentage (37.6)
- The Beacons enter the NCAA's having won six-consecutive games
- Two of the Beacons' three losses came at the hands of UMass.-Dartmouth
- UMass.-Boston features seven players averaging north of 5.0 PPG
- The Beacons rank ninth in NCAA DIII Women's Basketball in assists (491), 15th in winning percentage (89.3), and 19th in blocked shots (145)
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Saint Joseph's (STATS):
- Junior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.), a 2018 First Team All-Conference selection, leads the Monks in scoring (18.7 PPG), points (523), field goals made (173) and attempted (407), three-pointers made (86) and attempted (214), free throws made (91) and attempted (105), free-throw percentage, assists (160), steals (49), and blocked shots (11)
- Junior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.), a two-time Second Team All-GNAC honoree, averages 12.4 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per contest and also leads the team in field goal percentage (55.8%, 140-251)
- Junior guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine), the 2018 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, has had a breakout season and is averaging 12.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest while shooting 50.0% (122-244) from the field, 40.7% (44-108) from three-point distance, and 80.2% (73-91) from the FT line
- Junior guard Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine) contributes 10.8 points and 4.6 boards per tilt and ranks second on the team with 57 three-pointers made
- Freshman forward Joie Grassi (Plymouth, Mass.), a First Team All-Conference honoree, is averaging 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while shooting 49.4% (158-320) from the floor, 41.3% (43-104) from downtown, and 71.6% (83-116) from the FT line
- Senior guard Lydia Vital (Cambridge, Mass.), who transferred to UMB from LEC-rival Keene State prior to her senior season, also garnered First Team All-Conference honors after averaging 7.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.4 steals per game
- Freshman center Shania Osborne (Fairfield, Conn.) contributes 9.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game and boasts a remarkable 70.9% (73-103) field goal shooting percentage
- Senior forward Raven Kelsey (Boston, Mass.), the 2018 LEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, adds 7.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per tilt and led the LEC with 2.5 steals per contest
ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP:
Saint Joseph's: Mike McDevitt '83 (527-192, .733) - 26th collegiate season (BIO)
Among the most successful coaches in all of NCAA DIII Women's Basketball, McDevitt ranks 18th among active coaches in victories and 23rd in winning percentage. 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 17 different seasons, the seventh-highest total in the history of NCAA DIII Women's Basketball. Following the completion of the 2017-18 regular season, McDevitt was chosen as the GNAC Coach of the Year, the 11th coaching accolade of his storied career.
UMass.-Boston: Kristina Baugh (50-32, .610) - third collegiate season (BIO)
Baugh, who was selected as the LEC Co-Coach of the Year last week, has guided the Beacons to the most successful season in program history. In just three seasons, she has amassed the third-most wins and best winning percentage in the last 35 years.
THE LAST TIME WE MET:
The Monks and Beacons have not faced each other in women's basketball since the 1988-89 campaign when SJC toppled UMB, 98-62.
Saint Joseph's is 4-1 all-time versus UMass.-Boston.
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY:
The Monks will be making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last five years. In their last three trips, the Monks suffered first-round exits at the hands of and Christopher Newport (2016) and Tufts University (2014 & 2017).
The Beacons will be making their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance when they face the Monks on Friday night.
The Monks and Beacons have four common opponents this season: Colby College, Rivier University, Keene State, Southern Maine. Saint Joseph's posted a collective 5-0 record versus the group while UMass.-Boston - which suffered a 52-48 defeat to Colby in their second game of the season - is 6-1 against the list of common foes.