BOSTON, Mass. – The Emmanuel College women's basketball team is set to travel to Standish, Maine for the 2017 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday, February 25 at 1:00 PM. The Saints bring a 20-7 overall record to the contest after posting a 14-2 mark in the GNAC to earn the top seed in the GNAC South Division. The Monks stand at 23-4 overall and posted 15-1 mark in the GNAC to secure the No. 1 seed in the GNAC North.
Emmanuel is no stranger to the GNAC tournament making its 22nd consecutive appearance in the field while the Monks are in their ninth GNAC tournament since joining the league in 2008. The Saints own a 55-6 all-time GNAC tournament record compared to a 10-6 mark for SJM. Head to head in the tournament, Emmanuel is 2-1 all-time but the one loss came in last year's GNAC Finals when Saint Joseph's downed Emmanuel 66-62 to capture the program's second GNAC Championship. EC has dominated the all-time match up with a 17-4 record but the Monks have defeated the Saints in each of the last two meetings including a 75-64 win earlier this season.
EMMANUEL SCOUTING REPORT
While Emmanuel's success depends on the play of its senior tri-captains Jen Chalk (Horseheads, N.Y.), Alexis Ezell (Acworth, Ga.) and Olivia Marks (Canterbury, Conn.), the Saints also rely heavily on the steady play of sophomore guard Olivia Dalphonse (Buxton, Maine) and junior guard Alisha Fox (National Park, N.J.). Dalphone leads the GNAC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.68) while ranking eighth in the NCAA among D-III ballers. She's handed out 82 helpers while committing only 32 turnovers this year and has started all but one game this season. Fox provides the Saints punch off the bench both offensively and defensively in the sixth-player roll, averaging just under 10 points a game while recording 50 steals on the year to lead the team and rank 8th in the GNAC.
SAINT JOSEPH'S SCOUTING REPORT
Sophomore guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) is one of the most dangerous scorers in the GNAC and the main offensive threat for the Monks averaging just under 16 ppg on the year. At 5'6, she doesn't physically intimidate many players but her accuracy from downtown certainly does as she ranks first in the conference in 3-point field goals made (73) and fourth in shooting percentage from behind the arc at 42.3% in league play. McNamara's classmate Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) provides the one-two punch averaging just under 14 points a game while leading the team and ranking fifth in the GNAC averaging 8.8 rebounds per game.
Tickets to the GNAC Championship game will be available at the door at the Harold Alfond Center on the day of the game.
The Saints will make their 19th appearance in the GNAC championship game, boasting a 15-3 record in the conference finale. Emmanuel has never lost back-to-back appearances in the finals against the same team and has also never lost to a team in the finals multiple times.
GNAC TOURNEY SCHEDULE
Quarterfinals – Tuesday, Feb. 21
Game 1: #4S Albertus Magnus at #1N St. Joseph's (ME) – 64-61, SJM
Game 2: #3N Rivier at #2S Johnson & Wales – 66-52, JWU
Game 3: #3S Suffolk at #2N Norwich – 67-53, NU
Game 4: #4N Simmons at #1S Emmanuel – 91-64, EC
Semifinals – Thursday, Feb. 23
Game 5: #2S Johnson & Wales vs. #1N St. Joseph's (ME) – 91-00 (2OT), SJM
Game 6: #2N Norwich vs. #1S Emmanuel –73-67, EC
Championship – Saturday, Feb. 25
Game 7: S1 Emmanuel vs. N1 St. Joseph's (ME)