STANDISH, Maine – Top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (27-0) toppled #4 Suffolk University (19-8), 84-51, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Basketball Tournament Semifinal at the Harold Alfond Center on Thursday night.
With the victory Saint Joseph's advances to the GNAC Championship game for the fourth-consecutive season and will host the winner of the #2 Albertus Magnus / #1 Emmanuel College semifinal, which will start at 7:00 PM tonight in Boston.
The Monks have now won 51-consecutive home games, the longest home winning streak in SJC Athletics history, topping the previous mark of 50 set by the men's basketball team in the mid-1990's.
With a three-pointer at the 4:47 mark of the third quarter, senior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) became the first player in SJC women's basketball history to reach the 2,000-point mark. Already Monks' all-time leading scorer, McNamara entered the game 18 points shy of the milestone and hit it on the nose with the unassisted three-ball midway through the third frame.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Saint Joseph's opened the contest with nine unanswered points and held a 21-8 cushion after shooting 50% (9-18) from the floor in the first quarter. Suffolk was just 3-for-15 (20%) from the field in the first frame.
The Rams posted a 10-4 run to start the second quarter, cutting their deficit to 25-18 with 5:28 before the break. The Monks responded with a 17-5 burst – which included four three-pointers – and held a 42-25 lead going into intermission.
St. Joe's proceeded to put the game out of reach in the third quarter, as the Monks outscored the Rams by a 19-8 margin in the penultimate period en route to securing a 61-33 cushion. Saint Joseph's went on to claim a game-high 38-point (78-40) lead after senior guard Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine) hit a three-pointer with 3:55 left in the fourth.
STATS OF THE GAME:
The Monks scored 24 points off 19 Suffolk turnovers...St. Joe's outrebounded the Rams by a 49-30 margin and held a 20-5 advantage in points in the paint…The hosts made 11-of-26 shots from beyond the arc while the visitors hit just two shots from deep on nine attempts.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Marks led all players with 20 points and added five rebounds, four steals, and three assists
- McNamara tallied 18 points, six assists, five boards, and a pair of steals
- Senior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) registered a double-double with 14 points and 11 caroms and was 7-for-11 from the field
- Freshman Alyson Fillion (Bedford, N.H.) came of the bench to score 13 points off a 5-for-7 shooting effort, including a 3-for-4 bid from deep
- Senior guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) chipped in with nine points, five rebounds, and three steals
LEADERS – SUFFOLK:
- Freshman guard Allie Lopes (Scituate, Mass.) paced the Rams with 13 points and added four rebounds and four assists
- Sophomore guard Jenni-Rose DiCecco (Falmouth, Mass.) chipped in with six points, five assists, and seven rebounds
- Freshman guard Natalie Fraioli (Sutton, Mass.) came off the bench to net eight points off a 4-for-5 shooting performance
With the victory, Saint Joseph's improves to 15-7 all-time versus Suffolk University and has now defeated the Rams in eight-consecutive meetings.