SECOND-HALF FREE THROWS CARRY SAINTS PAST GULLS

Dec. 5, 2009

Box Score

BOSTON, Mass. - The Emmanuel Women's Basketball Team fought back from an eleven-point first-half deficit to edge the visiting Gulls of Endicott College, 59-55, in the Jean Yawkey Center on Saturday afternoon. While not scoring a field goal for the final fourteen minutes of the game, Emmanuel went 14-20 from the free throw line en route to the four-point win. The Saints, who improve to 6-0 on the season, got a game-high 24 points from junior guard Kristin LeBel (Tolland, Conn.). Emmanuel maintained its 13-game unbeaten streak against Endicott, which dropped to 3-2 on the year.

Emmanuel scored the first points of the game off a pair of free throws from senior captain Abby Brenkach (Germantown, N.Y.), but Endicott quickly took a 3-2 lead after a trifecta by junior guard Ashley Wright (Merrimack, N.H.). The Gulls then went on a 7-0 run, holding the Saints scoreless over a four-minute period, and led 9-2 with 16:23 on the clock.

The Saints chipped away at the lead and trailed by just one, 11-10, after back-to-back fast-break buckets by Iman Davis (Toms River, N.J.) with 12:53 remaining in the period. The two teams traded baskets over the next several minutes, before Endicott went on another 8-0 run, to go up 24-15 with 9:37 to play in the half. During the stretch, the Gulls got a three-ball from Kaylin Burke (Leominster, Mass.) and two lay-ups from senior center Ceciley Chisholm (Lexington, Mass.).

Emmanuel managed to claw back and came within four (38-34) after a three-pointer by LeBel with under a minute left in the half. Endicott's senior forward Ashley Vitale (Wilmington, Mass.) drained a free throw with 12 seconds remaining and the Gulls took a 39-34 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The visitors held a solid six-point lead for the majority of the second half. However, the Gulls got in foul trouble early and Emmanuel was in the bonus with 8:36 remaining and the double-bonus for the final five and half minutes of play.

With 14:14 to go, LeBel stole the ball and scored on the break, as the Saints trailed by four, 49-45. This hoop would be Emmanuel's final field goal of the contest. The Gulls defense held the Saints scoreless from the floor for the remainder of the game. Emmanuel's final fourteen points of the day would come from the line, as the Saints went 14-20 from the stripe down the stretch.

After holding on to the lead for thirty-two minutes, the Gulls sent Brenkach to the line with 5:33 to play. Brenkach made one of two and tied the game at 53-all. Emmanuel's first lead of the half, came when LeBel drained three free throws, after being fouled in the act of shooting a trey and the Saints went up 56-55. Another free throw by LeBel put the Saints up 57-55 with 2:31 to go.

Two Endicott turnovers and subsequent fouls, put Brenkach and LeBel back on the line in the closing minutes. Brenkach missed both and the Gulls regained possession down two with 51 seconds left. The Gulls committed an offensive foul and the Saints regained control of the ball for the final play.

With the lead and a four-second differential on the shot clock, the Saints worked the ball around to get a last good look. The Gulls waited and then committed a foul with just 5 seconds left on the shotclock and 9 seconds to go in the game. LeBel knocked down both and the Saints came away with a 59-55 win.

Emmanuel's defense held the Gulls scoreless for the last four minutes of the game. The Saints out-rebounded the Gulls, 50-40, and forced 20 Endicott turnovers. The key to the game was free throws, as Emmanuel went to the line 34 times, hitting 23 shots (67.6%) versus just 11 attempts for Endicott. The Saints committed a season-low 9 team fouls in the game.

LeBel led all scorers with 24 points, including 3 three-pointers and 11-12 shooting from the line. Davis added 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 steals, while Brenkach played huge for the Saints with 8 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, with 9 coming on the offensive end. Freshman forward Fiona O'Dwyer (Stamford, Conn.) came off the bench and chipped in with 7 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals for the Saints. Junior point guard Casey Shevlin (Medford, N.Y.) dished out a game-high 8 assists in 35 minutes of action for Emmanuel.

Endicott was led by Chisholm's 17 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Burke added 13 points, while Wright played the full 40 minutes and added 8 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals.

Emmanuel will return to action on Tuesday night (12/8), when the Saints travel to Amherst, Mass. to take on the Lord Jeffs in a 5:30pm start. Endicott will take on GNAC rival Emerson College on Tuesday night at 7pm.