ITHACA, N.Y. – Senior guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) netted 24 points to lead #12/14 Saint Joseph's College (28-1) past MIT (21-8), 68-61, in the first round of the NCAA DIII Women's Basketball Tournament at Ithaca College's Ben Light Gymnasium on Friday evening.
With the triumph, the Monks will advance to the second round of the national tourney for the second-consecutive season and will take on the winner of the Ithaca/SUNY-Poly first-round matchup tomorrow at 5:00 PM. The NCAA tourney contest between the Bombers and Wildcats began at 7:00 PM this evening.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Saint Joseph's held a 20-10 lead after the first quarter, but the Engineers opened the second stanza with a 15-4 run, capped by a Kristen Ngan (Sudbury, Mass.) layup, to claim a 25-24 with 3:20 before the break.
Following a timeout, the Monks' offense came back to life and outscored the MIT five by a 10-4 margin in the minutes leading up to the half with a Champagne three-pointer lifting the Royal Blue to a 34-29 advantage at intermission.
St. Joe's shot 60% (9-15) from the field during the third quarter and held a game-high 13-point (53-40) lead after Champagne hit a runner with 3:26 to play in the penultimate period.
But the Engineers would not go down without a fight and managed to cut their deficit down to 55-54 after freshman guard Christina Antonakakis (Holmdel, N.J.) capped a 14-2 surge with a three-pointer at the 8:34 mark of the fourth frame.
The 55-54 score remained frozen on the scoreboard for over three minutes until junior guard Julia Quinn (Fryeburg, Maine) drilled a three-pointer with 5:27 remaining. The teams swapped scores for the subsequent three minutes as a Kara Holinski (Livonia, Mich.) layup made it a 62-60 game, in favor of the Monks, with 2:51 left.
As it played out, the Holinski basket would be the Engineers' last, as MIT went 0-7 from the field in the closing minutes, a span during which the Monks hit all six of their free-throw attempts to account for the 68-61 final.
STATS OF THE GAME:
Saint Joseph's held advantages in points in the paint (30-26), points off turnovers (20-16), and fast-break points (7-2) and outshot MIT by nearly 10 percentage points (44.6 – 34.9) in the victory.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Champagne was 8-for-12 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the FT line with 24 points, seven rebound and three assists
- Senior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) tallied 19 points, five rebounds, six assists and six steals
- Senior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) added 14 points and six rebounds and was 7-for-8 from the field
- Sophomore forward Jordan Jabar (Waterville, Maine) pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds
LEADERS – MIT:
- Ngan was 5-for-7 from the floor with 14 points, three boards, and two assists
- Sophomore forward Jocelyn Luizzi (Colchester, Conn.) came off the bench to register 12 points and eight rebounds
- Senior guard Dolly Yuan (San Jose, Calif.) added 12 points, five caroms, three assists, and a pair of steals
With the victory, Saint Joseph's improves to 2-1 all-time versus MIT.