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SAINTS STUN MONKS TO WIN GNAC CHAMPIONSHIP, 65-64; RAMIREZ-TEJEDA SCORES 1,000TH IN WIN

SAINTS STUN MONKS TO WIN GNAC CHAMPIONSHIP, 65-64; RAMIREZ-TEJEDA SCORES 1,000TH IN WIN

THE BASICS 

Score:     Emmanuel College, 65; Saint Joseph's College (ME), 64
Records: Emmanuel College Saints (23-5, 10-1 GNAC)
               Saint Joseph's College Monks (27-1, 11-0 GNAC)
Location: Standish, Maine – Harold Alfond Center
Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019

SAINTS STUN MONKS TO WIN GNAC CHAMPIONSHIP, 65-64; RAMIREZ-TEJEDA SCORES 1,000TH IN WIN

THE LEAD: Junior guard Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda (Cambridge, Mass.) scored a game-high 24 points including the 1,000th of her career to propel the Emmanuel College women's basketball team past No. 8/10 Saint Joseph's College (ME), 65-64, to capture the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference women's basketball championship.

HOW IT HAPPENED  

  • Both squads struggled from the field early resulting in a low 6-3 score midway through the first quarter in favor of the Monks.
  • Senior Madison McLaughlin (Westerly, R.I.) and junior Kayla Weaver (West Haven, Conn.) connected on back-to-back threes before a jumper by junior Caitlin Cipriano (Waterbury, Conn.) tied the score at 13-13 late in the first quarter.
  • Junior Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda (Cambridge, Mass.) gave EC its first lead of the day with a fast break layup on Emmanuel's final offensive possession of the quarter to make it 17-15 at the end of one.
  • A 4-0 spurt to open the second quarter moved Emmanuel ahead 21-15 forcing Saint Joseph's to burn its first timeout of the afternoon at the 9:21 marker.
  • Out of the timeout, the Monks put together a 6-0 run with triples by seniors Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine) and Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) to even the score at 21-21 before a Weaver bucket put Emmanuel back on top 23-21 with 5:45 to play in the half.
  • Saint Joseph's responded with a 6-0 flurry to build a two-possession lead at 27-23 but Emmanuel answered with two consecutive scores to even the game at 27-27 with 2:49 in the quarter.
  • The Monks benefited from an Emmanuel tip-in in their own hoop to take a 34-31 lead into the break.
  • Ramirez-Tejeda led all scorers at the intermission with 12 while Champagne led the Monks with 11 points.
  • Despite turning the ball over on the first three offensive possessions of the half, the Saints used a 5-0 run to open the third quarter capped by an old-fashion three point play by Cipriano to retake a 36-34 lead early on.
  • A pull-up three by senior Kelsie McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) gave the Monks a 40-38 cushion but the Saints answered with a Weaver layup in transition to tie the score at 40-all midway through the third quarter.
  • Back-to-back buckets by Ramirez-Tejeda made it 44-40 and the Saints extended the lead to 47-40 for the largest cushion of the action before the Monks closed out the quarter with eight straight points capped by a three from Marks to give Saint Joseph's a 48-47 advantage heading into the fourth.
  • On the first offensive possession of the fourth, McNamara drained a deep triple to extend the Monks lead to 51-47 but McLaughlin got two back on the Saints' next trip down to keep it tight at 51-49, SJM.
  • With 7:30 to play in regulation, McLaughlin gave Emmanuel a brief 52-51lead with a three but McNamara answered with another deep three to bump the Monks back up 54-52.
  • Weaver used back-to-back layup to give the Saints a 56-54 advantage and Ramirez-Tejeda added to it at the 5:17 marker with two free throws to account for a 58-54 score.
  • Ramirez-Tejeda scored her 1,000th career point with the Saints to keep the lead at four, 62-58, with 3:39 left in the action.
  • A pair of free throws from Julia Quinn (Fryeberg, Maine) with 1:46 to play made it a two point game (62-60).
  • Cipriano connected on one of two from the stripe to give Emmanuel a 63-60 lead before Marks made it a one point game with a SJM layup at 63-62 with under a minute to play.
  • After the Saints missed two from the line with 41 seconds to play, the Monks gained possession and used a timeout down one with 40 seconds remaining. Out of the timeout, Benway made a layup to give the Monks a 64-63 lead with 22 seconds to play.
  • McLaughlin was fouled with 8.6 tics left in regulation and drained both to give Emmanuel a 65-64 lead.
  • Following a SJM timeout, Weaver was able come up with the most important steal of her career, intercepting a pass at the top of the key with four seconds to play in regulation before getting fouled with under two seconds on the clock. She was unable to connect on either bonus free throw but the Monks were unable to get a shot off before time expired to send the Saints to the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball tournament.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS 

  • Ramirez-Tejeda becomes the 24th player in Emmanuel's storied history to score her 1,000th career point and also added 11 rebounds to notch her 19th double-double of the season to rank fifth in the nation for double-doubles.
  • Weaver finished the afternoon with 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field while McLaughlin added 10 points and a game-high eight assists.
  • McNamara, Champagne and Marks all finished in double-figures for the Monks with 18, 16 and 12 respectively.
  • Emmanuel held the Monks to a season-low 34.3 shooting percentage from the field and just five free throws made, also a season-low.

OF NOTE

  • The top-seeded Monks came into the game with a  perfect 27-0 record, a 51-game home winning streak at the Alfond Center and a perfect 17-0 record at home in GNAC postseason play.
  • The win marks the 16th GNAC Championship in Emmanuel program-history and the first since 2013.
  • EC is now 59-8 (.881) all-time in the GNAC tournament.

UP NEXT

  • Emmanuel advances to the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball tournament for the first time in five seasons and will wait to find out their first round opponent on Monday's NCAA selection show at 2:30 PM.
  • Saint Joseph's will now wait for an at-large bid for this year's NCAA tournament field. With their national and regional rank, the Monks will be a strong candidate to keep their season alive in the tourney field with an at-large bid.

GNAC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM:

MVP - Yuleska Ramirez-Tejada, Emmanuel

Madison McLaughlin, Emmanuel

Mary McCarthy, Emmanuel

Kelsi McNamara, Saint Joseph's

Julia Champagne, Saint Joseph's

Jill Johnson, Albertus Magnus

Jenni-Rose DiCecco, Suffolk