AMHERST, Mass. – Saint Joseph's College (28-2, 16-0 GNAC) fell to #1 Amherst College (29-0, 10-0 NESCAC), 53-47, in a hard-fought Second Round NCAA DIII Women's Basketball Tournament contest at LeFrak Gymnasium on Saturday evening.
For the Monks, the loss signals the end of the 2017-18 season as well as the team's 27-game winning streak. With the victory, Amherst advances to the Sweet 16 for the 11th-consecutive season and will face Montclair State in the third round on Friday.
The Mammoths, the reigning national champions, have now won 62-consecutive games with just one loss on their home court since the 2009 season. Amherst entered tonight's contest as the NCAA leader allowing just 37.9 points per game and has not yielded as many as 47 points since Chapman scored 58 on New Year's Eve.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Monks matched the Mammoths punch for punch in the first half and held a 24-21 lead after junior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) made a layup with 2:29 left in the second quarter. Amherst answered with four straight free throws in the final two minutes leading up to intermission and carried a 25-24 edge into halftime.
The Mammoths outscored the Monks by a 15-9 margin during the third period – a 10-minute span during which neither made a three-pointer, going 0-9 combined – and held a 40-33 cushion going into the fourth frame.
Amherst extended the lead to a game-high nine points when sophomore guard Hannah Fox (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) drilled a three-pointer with 2:57 remaining. Junior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) followed with five-consecutive points off two free throws and a trifecta to make it a 47-43 game 1:38 later, but the Monks would get no closer to the Mammoths, who held St. Joe's to a 1-5 field goal shooting effort in the final minute of play.
STATS OF THE GAME:
The Mammoths held a 16-9 advantage in second-chance points with a 6-0 lead in fast-break points in the victory. The Monks shot just 50% (7-14) from the charity stripe in the loss.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- McNamara was 11-21 from the floor with a game-high 30 points and added three rebounds, two assists, and a pair of steals
- Benway contributed eight points on a 4-4 shooting effort with six boards
- Junior guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) pulled down six rebounds and scored three points
LEADERS – AMHERST:
- Fox notched a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds
- Sophomore guard Madeline Eck (Rye, N.Y.) netted 13 points with eight boards and four assists
- Senior forward Hannah Hackley (Westford, Mass.) scored eight points and was 4-4 from the FT Line
- McNamara is the first opposing player to net 30 points against Amherst since Sydney Moss (daughter of former NFL star Randy Moss) scored 38 to help Thomas More College defeat the Mammoths, 74-65, in the 2016 NCAA DIII National Championship (Amherst has not lost since)
- The loss signals the end of collegiate basketball for the Monks' three senior captains: Emily DeLuca (Gorham, Maine), Brianne Maloney (South Portland, Maine), and Regan McFerran (Albany, N.Y.) – a trio that helped Saint Joseph's post an incredible 91-23 (.798) overall record, including a 48-7 (.873) mark in conference play, with three GNAC Championships while donning the Royal Blue