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Jan. 2, 2012

LONDON, England - The Emmanuel College Women's Basketball Team traveled abroad during the winter break, playing in several exhibition contests against various club teams in England. The Saints competed in the highly competitive London South Bank Tournament, squaring off against several of England's premier club teams.

The Saints opened the tournament with a 59-57 win over the Newham Stars on December 29th. Emmanuel was down by just one at the half, 27-26, and trailed, 51-43 at the end of the third period, but came back to win it. Freshman forward Vanessa Bramante (Stoneham, Mass.) grabbed an offensive rebound and connected on the put-back with two seconds remaining to give the Saints a two-point come-from-behind win. Bramante finished with 17 points in the victory. Senior guard Meghan Kirwan (Melrose, Mass.) and junior forward and Fiona O'Dwyer (Stamford, Conn.) added13 points apiece, while freshman Lena Negri (Arlington, Va.) posted a double-double in the win.

Emmanuel then dropped a 69-59 decision to the Sevenoaks School later the same day. Sevenoaks is considered one of the top club teams in Great Britain and the most athletic competition Emmanuel has faced to date. The Saints trailed by just four, 55-51 with five minutes to play in the contest, but Emmanuel was unable to overcome the deficit. Negri led the squad with 14 points, while Kirwan and O'Dwyer netted 12 each in the effort.

The following day, Emmanuel faced host London South Bank University and came away with a decisive 67-41 win. The Saints led from end to end, posting a 37-19 lead at the break and stretched it to 52-30 after the third period. Bramante led Emmanuel with 12 points, while sophomore guard Bria Tiro (Saugus, Mass) netted 10 points, including two three-pointers. Sophomore forward Liz Daley (Sharon, Mass.) chipped in with 8 points and Chenae Earle (South Orange, N.J.) and Britni Mikulanecz (Portland, Me.) combined for 12 steals in the win.

The Saints advanced to take on Sevenoaks School again in the tournament championship game held at night on December 30th. The hard fought battle resulted in Emmanuel suffering a 75-69 loss. The Saints faced an eleven-point halftime deficit, 38-27, and trailed, 55-45 after the third. The Saints fought back in a high-scoring fourth quarter and trailed by just four, 73-69, after Breanna Ockimey (Philadelphia, Pa.) drained a three-ball. Emmanuel pushed the ball well with about twenty points coming off of the Saints' fastbreak, but the visitors could not hang on and Sevenoaks took the tournament title. Negri recorded another double-double effort with 16 points and 12 boards. She was named the Most Valuable Player in the tournament. O'Dwyer and Ockimey each hit for 11 points for Emmanuel.

Following the tournament, the Saints spent several days traveling around England. The squad's tour included stops at Saint Paul's Cathedral, the River Thames and the Monument to the Great Fire of London to name a few. Click HERE to check out the photogallery from the team's trip.

Emmanuel will play open up play in 2012 with a follow-up game at the Sevenoaks School on January 3rd at 8:00pm.