AMHERST, Mass. - Saint Joseph's College (28-1) erased a 13-point halftime deficit to defeat UMass.-Boston (25-4), 61-56, in the first found of the NCAA DIII Tournament at Amherst College's LeFrak Gymnasium on Friday evenin
With their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, Saint Joseph's advances to the second round and will face the winner of the Amherst/Becker College first-round matchup on Saturday at 5:00 PM. The first round matchup between the Mammoths and Hawks began at 7:00 PM this evening.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Trailing 38-25 at intermission, the Monks opened the third quarter with an 11-2 run, as a Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine) three-pointer closed out the surge with a three-pointer to cut her team's deficit to 40-36 with 5:46 left in the penultimate period.
The Beacons maintained a lead of six or fewer points until the 3:32 mark of the fourth frame, when senior forward Regan McFerran (Albany, N.Y.) made a free throw to provide the Monks with their first lead - 51-50 - since early in the first quarter. The senior's freebie was netted in the midst of a 14-2 outburst, which was capped by a huge Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) trifecta lifting the Monks to a 58-52 lead with 34 seconds remaining.
Saint Joseph's opened the tourney tilt with six unanswered points in the first 69 seconds, but UMass.-Boston rattled off 12 unanswered points as part of a 22-5 run.
STAT OF THE GAME:
The Monks held a 19-8 advantage in points off turnovers and committed 10 miscues in the victory. The Beacons turned the ball over 17 times in a losing effort.
LEADERS - SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Champagne paced the Monks with 16 points off a 9-10 free-throw shooting performance and added six rebounds and three steals
- Marks added 12 points and five rebounds
- Junior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) scored 10 points with seven assists, six rebounds, and three steals
- Junior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) chipped in with 10 points, five boards, and three blocked shots
- Senior forward Brianne Maloney (South Portland, Maine) provided a spark off the bench with nine points and was 4-6 from the field
LEADERS - UMASS.-BOSTON:
- Freshman forward Shania Osborne was 8-11 from the floor with 16 points and four caroms
- Freshman forward Joie Grassi notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds
- Senior guard Lydia Vital tallied 10 points, four boards, two assists, and a pair of steals
- The Monks' defense held the Beacons' shooters to a 25.9% (7-27) shooting performance in the closing 20 minutes.
- With the win, the Monks increased their SJC Athletics record winning streak to 27 games and sees their single-season victories record grow to 28
- With 10 points in the triumph, McNamara became the eighth player in SJC women's basketball history to surpass the 1,400-point plateau
With the victory, Saint Joseph's improves to 5-1 in the history of the series with UMass.-Boston. Prior to tonight's contest, these two teams had not met since the 1988-89 campaign.
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 474-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.