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GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW: #2 EMMANUEL VS. #1 SAINT JOSEPH'S ME

GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW: #2 EMMANUEL VS. #1 SAINT JOSEPH'S ME

STANDISH, Maine – Top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (27-0, 12-0 GNAC) will host #2 Emmanuel College (22-5, 11-1 GNAC) in the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Basketball Tournament Championship on Saturday at 1:00 PM.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Saint Joseph's, ranked eighth and 10th nationally in this week's D3Hoops.com and WBCA national polls, respectively, cruised past eighth-seeded Johnson & Wales University, 99-75, in a quarterfinal contest on Tuesday evening and toppled #4 Suffolk University, 84-51, in the semifinal round on Thursday.

Emmanuel routed #7 Colby-Sawyer College, 61-39, in the quarterfinals and required overtime to dispose of #3 Albertus Magnus College in a semifinal matchup on Thursday. The hard-fought contest stood at a 66-66 stalemate after regulation, but the Saints outscored the Falcons by a 12-6 margin in the five-minute extra frame to advance to the GNAC title bout.

SEASON AT A GLANCE

Emmanuel:

  • The Saints are 20-0 when scoring over 70 points, 12-0 when shooting at least 45% from the field, and 9-0 when pulling down over 50 rebounds
  • Emmanuel is 8-2 on the road this season
  • Eight different Emmanuel players are averaging at least 5.0 points per game with three netting 12.5 or more per contest
  • The Saints lead the GNAC in field goals made per game (32.4), field goal percentage (45.1), rebound margin per game (8.9), assists per game (20.2), and steals per game (12.8)

Saint Joseph's:

  • The Monks' perfect regular season is the first in program and GNAC women's basketball history; Saint Joseph's is one of just three teams in the nation to have not yet suffered a loss
  • St. Joe's has won a college-record 51-consecutive home games and carries a 38-game winning streak versus GNAC opponents into championship contest
  • Four of the Monks' five starters are averaging at least 11.0 PPG
  • Saint Joseph's leads the conference in three-pointers made per game (9.6), three-pointers attempted per game (26.1), three-point FG% (36.7%), fewest turnovers per game (12.3), fewest points per game allowed (56.6), and opponents' three-point FG% (27.2%)

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Emmanuel:

  • (#1) Junior guard Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda (South Boston, Mass.) is averaging 20.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game and leads the conference in field goals made (246) and ranks second in offensive rebounds (119) and total rebounds (300), third in field goal percentage (55.9%) and points (565), fourth in rebounding and scoring average, and fifth in defensive rebounds (181)
  • (#23) Senior guard Maddie McLaughlin (Westerly, R.I.) contributes 13.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per contest and is currently second in the GNAC in three-pointers made (73) and assist/turnover ratio (2.2) and third in assists (147)
  • (#24) Junior guard Kayla Weaver (West Haven, Conn.) is netting 12.6 points per game and leads the conference with 87 steals

Saint Joseph's:

  • (#10) Senior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) is averaging 21.1 points, 7.0 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game and ranks as the GNAC leader in three-pointers made (80), free-throw percentage (88.6%), assists (188), and assist/turnover ratio (2.7); she also became the GNAC's all-time leader in three-pointers made (314) and assists (609) – as well as the first player in SJC women's basketball history to score 2,000 career points – this season
  • (#41) Senior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) is averaging 12.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game and leads the GNAC in field goal percentage (57.6%), ranks third in offensive rebounds (118), fifth in total rebounds (256), and sixth in rebounding average
  • (#14) Senior guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine), the reigning GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, is averaging 13.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game and currently ranks fifth in the conference in three-point shooting percentage (37.2%) and seventh in three-pointers made (51)
  • (#22) Senior guard Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine) contributes 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per contest and – for the second-consecutive season – leads the conference in three-point percentage (41.0%, 64-156); she also ranks third in three-pointers made (64) and fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.7)

COACHES' CORNER:

Saint Joseph's: Mike McDevitt '83 (555-193, .742) - 27th collegiate season

Among the most successful coaches in all of NCAA DIII Women's Basketball, McDevitt ranks 17th among active coaches in victories and 24th in winning percentage. Only three coaches in New England have more wins and four (10+ years) have a higher win rate.

During his tenure at Saint Joseph's, Coach McDevitt has guided the Monks to at least 20 wins in 18 different seasons, the sixth-highest total in the history of NCAA DIII Women's Basketball, with 18 championships. During his career, McDevitt has garnered 13 'Coach of the Year' accolades, including GNAC, Maine Women's Basketball Coaches Association (MWBCA), and New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) honors last season.

Emmanuel: Andy Yosinoff (830-280, .748) – 42nd collegiate season

One of the few New England women's basketball coaches to possess a more impressive résumé than McDevitt, Yosinoff is the all-time NCAA DIII Women's Basketball leader in victories and games (1,110 and counting). He is also just the 14th NCAA Women's Basketball coach at any level to win at least 800 games.

Coach Yosinoff has led Emmanuel to 15 GNAC Championships, 18 NCAA Tournament berths – including advancements to three Sweet Sixteen's, two Elite Eights, and one Final Four – and nine ECAC Tournament appearances

THE LAST TIME WE MET:

These two teams last faced off on February 5th, when the Monks held off a late Emmanuel rally to defeat the Saints, 79-69, at the Harold Alfond Center.

Saint Joseph's held a game-high 20-point (34-14) lead with 7:07 left in the second quarter and carried a 47-31 lead into intermission after shooting an even 50% (17-34) from the floor in the first two quarters combined.

Emmanuel shot 69.2% (9-13) from the field en route to outscoring the Monks by a 22-8 margin in the penultimate period.

The Saints closed out the third frame on a 16-4 run to cut the SJC lead down to 55-53 and tied the game on their first possession in the fourth quarter when senior center Mary McCarthy (Scituate, Mass.) connected on a layup attempt.

With the help of three trifectas from Marks, the Monks mounted an 18-6 surge to claim a 73-61 cushion with 1:24 remaining.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING:

Saint Joseph's is 7-17 all-time versus Emmanuel College with five-consecutive victories over the Saints.

Saturday's GNAC Championship game will be the fourth between the Monks and Saints since 2012.

GNAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY:

The Monks have appeared in the GNAC Tournament in 11 of 12 seasons as a member of the conference and claimed the program's first GNAC Championship in 2014, when the Royal Blue defeated Norwich University, 63-47, in the title game at the Alfond Center on March 1st, 2014.

As the top seed in the 2016 conference tournament, Saint Joseph's defeated Emmanuel, 66-62, in the GNAC Championship and the Monks claimed their second-consecutive title with an overtime 81-70 win over the Saints in the 2017 GNAC Championship. St. Joe's made it three in a row with a 73-59 victory over Suffolk University in the 2018 GNAC Championship.

The Monks are 17-0 at home – and 18-6 overall - in GNAC postseason play since joining the conference in 2007.

The Saints are in the midst of their 24th GNAC Tournament run and have dominated the conference with 15 GNAC Championships. Saturday's contest marks Emmanuel's 20th appearance in the GNAC title match.

Emmanuel owns and incredible 58-8 (.879) GNAC Tournament record and has advanced past the first round in 23 of 24 seasons – the only hiccup coming in 2014, when #8 Norwich upset the top-seeded Saints, 84-78 in overtime.

COVERAGE
Saturday's GNAC Championship game will be streamed live on the web. To tune into the live action, click on one of the links below:

LIVE VIDEO
LIVE STATS

OVERVIEW

The winner of the GNAC Championship game earns an automatic berth into the 2019 NCAA DIII Women's Basketball Championship, which begins on March 1st. The complete national tournament bracket will be announced on Monday afternoon.

Tuesday, February 19 - Quarterfinals

Game 1: #1 Saint Joseph's 99, #8 JWU 75
Game 2: #4 Suffolk 68, #5 Anna Maria 58
Game 3: #3 Albertus Magnus 82, #6 Regis 74
Game 4: #2 Emmanuel 61, #7 Colby-Sawyer 39

Thursday, February 21 - Semifinals

Game 5: #1 Saint Joseph's 84, #4 Suffolk 51
Game 6: #2 Emmanuel 78, #3 Albertus Magnus 72 (OT)

Saturday, February 23 - Championship

Game 7: #2 Emmanuel at #1 Saint Joseph's – 1:00 PM

*Release courtesy of Saint Joseph's College Athletic Communications