STANDISH, ME – Mackenzie Dufour '14 (Augusta, ME) tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and seven steals to help Saint Joseph's (15-8, 7-3 GNAC) notch an important conference win over Emerson College (9-15, 7-4 GNAC), 61-51, at the Alfond Center on Tuesday night.
With the victory, St. Joe's moves up to fourth place in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference standings with a pair of league games remaining. The top four teams host in the GNAC Tournament, which begins next Tuesday.
The game featured several drastic scoring bursts but it was the Monks' late surge that sealed the fate for the Lions. With the tilt tied, 38-38, and 13:44 remaining, St. Joe's tallied 11 unanswered points over four-plus minutes to post an advantage the visitors were unable to overcome.
For the Monks, Ashley Geel '12 (St. George, ME) scored a game-high 17 points and was 6-7 from the floor in the second stanza. Allie Parent '12 (Camden, ME) netted 13 with three assists and a pair of rejections and Abby Young '14 (North Yarmouth, ME) added seven points and seven caroms coming off the SJC bench.
For the Lions, Kathy Andrade '11 (Hull, MA) registered 15 points and 6 rebounds and Elissa Chojnicki '14 (Dover, NH) added 10 points, five boards, three assists and two steals. Olivia DiNucci '13 (Pittsburgh, PA) chipped in with 10 points and three caroms in a losing effort.
The first half began on a high note for the hosts. Chojnicki scored a layup for the Lions at the 18:58 mark to kick off the game-scoring, but the Monks responded by netting 11 unanswered points and held a nine-point lead after Alyssa Grigware '13 (Biddeford, ME) nailed a pair of freebies at the 14:05 mark.
The good fortune did not last long for the Royal Blue however, as Emerson responded in kind with an 11-2 run to knot the game at 13-apiece just three minutes later. A Grigware bucket with 8:28 left in the first put the Monks up by four, 19-15, but the Lions assembled an 8-0 outburst which ended with the hosts on top 23-19 with 3:37 before the break.
Emerson went up by six, 27-21, after Olivia Connors '14 (Windham, NH) made a pair of free throws at the 1:54 mark and carried a 27-25 cushion into intermission.
In the first half, St. Joe's shot 30% from the floor, 16.7% from beyond the arc, and 75% from the free throw line. Emerson shot 44% from the field and went 5-5 from the charity stripe while missing all four shots from downtown in the opening 20 minutes.
Andrade led all first-half scorers with nine points, while Parent paced the Monks with seven points.
Coach McDevitt's halftime sermon must have riled the Royal Blue, as the hosts played like a different team in the second stanza. The Monks came out of the gate to score six straight points, four by Geel, to retake the lead, 31-27, with 17:53 remaining.
The Lions went on to knot the contest, 38-38, when Maddy Smeaton '14 (Camden, ME) scored a bucket in the paint at the 13:44 mark, but the visitors would not taste a share of the lead for the remainder of the evening as St. Joe's altered the outcome with the aforementioned 11-0 run over the subsequent 4:37.
Overall, Saint Joseph's shot 40.4% (23-57) from the floor, 18.2% (2-11) from three-point range, and 81.3% (13-16) from the FT line. Emerson shot 35.2% (19-54) from the field, 23.1% (3-13) from downtown, and 71.4% (10-14) from the stripe.
The Monks held a slim 36-35 advantage on the glass and forced 19 Emerson turnovers with 12 steals on the night. St. Joe's dealt 17 assists on 23 field goals and outscored the visitors by a 38-24 margin in the paint.
With the win, Saint Joseph's improves to 2-2 in the history of the series with Emerson.
The Monks will play at Pine Manor at 6:00 PM on Thursday, while the Lions will host Norwich University on Saturday in a 2:00 PM tip-off.