STANDISH, Maine – The Maine Women's Basketball Coaches Association (MWBCA) postseason honors have been released and three Saint Joseph's College players have earned accolades.
Senior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) has been selected as the 2019 MWBCA Player of the Year and is listed on the First Team while seniors Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) and Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) have claimed Second Team honors.
McNamara becomes the first Saint Joseph's player to earn MWBCA Player of the Year honors since 1995 (Danielle Bouchard '95) and claims First Team All-State honors for the third-consecutive season after averaging 21.2 points, 6.7 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting 43.9% (207-472) from the field, 37.5% (93-248) from three-point range, and 88.4% (129-146) from the free-throw line during her senior season.
The two-time GNAC Player of the Year led all Maine NCAA DIII players in field goals made and attempted, three-pointers made and attempted, free throws made and percentage, points, points per game, assists, assists per game, and assist/turnover ratio (2.35).
McNamara is just the second NCAA DIII Women's Basketball player to register at least 200 field goals made and 200 assists in the same season. Former Christopher-Newport standout Karen Barefoot, who tallied 273 assists and made 205 field goals during the 1993-94 campaign, is the only other player to hit the 200 mark in both categories. The NCAA began tracking assists as an official statistic in 1988.
During her senior season McNamara eclipsed the Monks' career records for points (2,067), assists (621), three-pointers made (327) and attempted (856), and field goal attempts (1,660). She also moved up the SJC career leaderboard in games (118, 2nd), field goals made (677, 2nd), free throws made (386, 2nd), assists average (5.3, 2nd), free throw percentage (83.5%, 3rd), scoring average (17.5, 3rd), three-point percentage (38.2%, 4th), free throws attempted (462, 6th), and steals (204, 9th).
Champagne claims Second Team All-State honors for the second-consecutive season after averaging 13.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game in 30 starts this year. She finished the season ranked fifth among Maine NCAA DIII players in points (414) and three-pointers attempted (158) and seventh in three-pointers made (57).
The third-year starter became the 25th member of the Monks' 1,000-Point Club in a win over Emmanuel on February 8th and capped her career with 1,130 points, 578 rebounds, and 260 assists in 118 career games. She is one of just two players in the 41-year history of SJC women's basketball to register 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 250 assists (Carolyn Brooks '88 is the other).
Benway also earns Second Team honors for the second season in a row after averaging 12.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 56.9% (160-281) from the floor during her senior season. She finished her senior year ranked second among Maine NCAA DIII players in field goal percentage, second in total rebounds (280) and offensive rebounds per game (4.0), third in rebounds per game, and fourth in field goals made.
On December 2nd, 2018 Benway became the 24th member of the Monks' 1,000-Point Club and closed out her career with 1,295 points, the 10th-highest total in team history. She is also tied for second in program history in field goal percentage (53.3%), sixth in rebounds (861), eighth in rebounding average (7.6), and ninth in field goals made (555).
Under the watch of 26th-year Head Coach Mike McDevitt '83 this season, Saint Joseph's went 28-2 overall – including a 12-0 mark in conference play – en route to earning the top seed in the GNAC Tournament for the fourth-consecutive year. The Monks cruised past Johnson & Wales and Suffolk in the first two rounds of the tourney before suffering a 65-64 upset at the hands of Emmanuel in the GNAC Championship on February 23rd.
Ranked in the top 10 nationally in the WBCA and D3Hoops.com polls and fourth in the NCAA DIII Regional rankings, Saint Joseph's earned the program's first-ever at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Monks faced MIT in the opening round of the national tourney and defeated the Engineers, 68-61, before falling to pod-host Ithaca College, 74-63, the following day.
The loss signaled the end of collegiate basketball for the Monks' four seniors: Benway, Champagne, McNamara, and Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine). With the 2019 class on the court, St. Joe's posted a 103-15 (.873) overall record – the most victories by a senior class in program history - with a 53-2 (.964) mark in conference play, three GNAC Championships, and four NCAA Tournament appearances.