STANDISH, Maine – The first Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) NCAA DIII Top 25 Coaches Poll has been released and Saint Joseph's College, with 38 points, is ranked 22nd in the nation.
The announcement comes a week after the Monks, winners of three-consecutive Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championships, earned a #17 ranking in the D3hoops.com Preseason Poll.
Saint Joseph's is one of four New England programs to be listed on the first poll of the season. The other three are ranked in the top six, as two-time defending national champion Amherst College (200 points), which received all eight first-place votes, is first, Bowdoin College (191) is second, and Tufts University (162) is ranked sixth.
The Monks gain national exposure after registering one of the finest seasons in program history last winter, when Head Coach Mike McDevitt '83 guided the Royal Blue to a 28-2 record, including a 16-0 mark in conference play.
The 2017-18 team broke the program's single-season victories record and shattered the previous SJC Athletics winning streak record (23) with 27-consecutive wins, a string that began with a win at Keene State College on November 18th and ended with a 53-47 setback against eventual National Champion Amherst College on March 3rd.
Ranked fourth in the final 2018 NCAA DIII Northeast Regional Rankings - behind Amherst, Tufts and Bowdoin, three teams that advanced to the Elite 8 of the 2018 NCAA Tournament - the Monks were among the national leaders in winning percentage (5th, 93.3%), scoring margin (5th, 23.4), three-point field goals made (5th, 252), assist/turnover ratio (8th, 1.24), three-point percentage (10th, 37.3%), three-pointers per game (11th, 8.4), assists (12th, 521), and points (15th, 2240).
Last season, Saint Joseph's also set new program records for three-pointers made (252) and attempted (676) and posted the second-highest shooting percentage from beyond the arc (37.3%) since the 1992-93 campaign (37.6%, team record).
McDevitt, the winningest (506-186) and most successful (.731 winning percentage) coach in program history, claimed GNAC, State of Maine, and New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) Coach of the Year honors after the historic season.
The Monks return four starters from last year's lineup as seniors Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.), Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.), Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine), and Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine) are back for their final season on the hardwood.
The aforementioned quartet has scored a total of 3,727 points over the last three seasons, a span during which the Monks have posted an incredible 74-13 (.851) overall record, including a 41-2 (.953) mark in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play.
During the seniors' time on the court, Saint Joseph's has the fifth-most wins and the eighth-highest winning percentage in all of NCAA DIII Women's Basketball.
As the top seed in the 2018 GNAC Tournament, the Monks defeated Mount Ida, Albertus Magnus, and Suffolk University en route to claiming an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. In the first round, St. Joe's drew Little East Conference Champion UMass.-Boston and rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to defeat the Beacons, 61-56, and claim the first NCAA tourney triumph in program history.
Saint Joseph's kicks off the 2018-19 season with a pair of games in the Curry College Tip-Off Tournament. The Monks face off against Eastern Nazarene at 7:00 PM on Friday, November 9th at 7:00 PM and play either Curry or Framingham State on Saturday, November 10th.