STANDISH, Maine - #2 Emmanuel College (23-5) stunned top-seeded – and three-time defending GNAC champion - Saint Joseph's College (27-1), 65-64, in the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Basketball Championship at the Harold Alfond Center on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, Emmanuel earns the GNAC's automatic qualifier into the 2019 NCAA DIII Women's Basketball Tournament. The Saints will be making their 19th appearance in the national tournament and first since 2013.
The Monks, ranked eighth and 10th in this week's D3Hoops.com and WBCA national polls, respectively, and listed fourth in the NCAA Regional Rankings for the second-consecutive week, have hopes of earning an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament and will learn their fate on Monday when the entire field is announced live on www.ncaa.com at 2:30 PM.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
In a tight game featuring eight tie scores and 13 lead changes where neither team held an advantage greater than seven points, the deciding play did not take place until the closing seconds. The Monks held a 64-63 edge after senior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) made a layup with 23 seconds left, but senior guard Maddie McLaughlin (Westerly, R.I.) was fouled on a drive to the basket and – under immense pressure - made both of her free throws to give her team the lead.
Saint Joseph's had a chance to retake the lead but Emmanuel junior guard Kayla Weaver (West Haven, Conn.) forced a turnover and was fouled with 1.8 seconds remaining. Although Weaver missed both of her attempts from the line and senior guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) grabbed the defensive board, the Monks were out of timeouts and did not have near enough time to move the ball to a reasonable shooting distance.
STATS OF THE GAME:
The Saints held a 42-18 lead in points in the paint and outrebounded the Monks by a 48-36 margin…Saint Joseph's shot 34.3% (23-67) from the field, the team's lowest mark this season, while Emmanuel notched a 46.4% (26-56) effort.
BEYOND THE BOX:
The setback brought a host of streaks to a close for the Monks, who entered today's title bout having won 51-consecutive home games with 17-straight victories at home in the GNAC Tournament and 38 wins in a row versus conference opponents.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Senior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) netted 18 points with five assists, three rebounds, and a pair of steals
- Champagne netted 16 points with eight rebounds and two assists
- Senior guard Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine) chipped in with 12 points and four boards
- Benway finished the game with nine points, 11 caroms, and three assists
LEADERS – EMMANUEL:
- Junior guard Yuleska Ramirez-Tejada (South Boston, Mass.) posted a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds and scored her 1,000th point during the game
- Weaver added 17 points, seven boards, three assists, and a pair of steals
- McLaughlin chipped in with 10 points, eight assists, five caroms, and two steals
GNAC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM:
MVP - Yuleska Ramirez-Tejada, Emmanuel
Maddy McLaughlin, Emmanuel
Mary McCarthy, Emmanuel
Kelsi McNamara, Saint Joseph's
Julia Champagne, Saint Joseph's
Jill Johnson, Albertus Magnus
Jenni-Rose DiCecco, Suffolk