BOSTON, Mass. – Senior point guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newton, Mass.) scored 19 points to lead the nationally-ranked number 11 Saint Joseph's College (Maine) women's basketball team over host Simmons University, 72-45, this evening in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action at Moore Gymnasium on the campus of Simmons in Boston, Mass. The Monks, who are ranked the same by both the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and d3hoops.com, improve to a perfect 18-0 and 6-0 in league play and have won 24 consecutive regular-season contests over conference foes. The Sharks fall to 4-14 and 1-5.
Saint Joseph's controlled the boards with a 54-39 rebounding advantage, including 24 offensive caroms to contribute to a 21-10 margin in second chance points. The Monks' defense held Simmons to just 26.4% (14-53) shooting from the floor.
McNamara added five assists, six rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot for Saint Joseph's, while senior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) posted her sixth double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to go with a pair of blocks and an assist. Junior guard Julia Quinn (Fryeburg, Maine) came off the bench to net 13 points, including all three of her three-point tries, and added two rebounds and two steals and senior guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) finished with 13 points, five boards, a steal and an assist.
Sophomore guard Cassandra Stapelfeld (Brookline, N.H.) led all scorers with 24 points, including 10-11 from the free throw line for the Sharks in addition to a rebound, a steal and a block, while senior guard Francesca Corsinetti (Johnston, R.I.) came off the bench to chip in with nine points, two blocks and a rebound. Senior forward Lauren Brandau (Madison, Conn.) contributed with four points, 10 rebounds and a steal.
Stapelfeld drove the lane to give Simmons a 2-0 lead, but it was the home team's only advantage of the night before the Monks scored the next eight points. Senior Molly Phillips (Cranston, R.I.) pulled the Sharks to within 13-8 later in the quarter with a lay-up at the 4:19 mark, but Saint Joseph's closed out the period with an 8-2 run, capped by a three-pointer from Quinn to give the visitors a 21-10 lead after one quarter.
Corsinetti canned a three-pointer with 4:22 left in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 26-18 for Simmons, before the Monks put together a 13-4 stretch, fueled by six points from Quinn, to increase their lead to 39-22 with 1:23 to play in the opening half. Saint Joseph's took a 41-26 cushion into the intermission.
The Monks ripped off 11 unanswered points to open the third period and take a comfortable 52-26 lead with 5:26 showing on the third quarter clock. Saint Joseph's maintained its advantage throughout the quarter before taking a 58-31 margin into the final period of play.
Champagne knocked down a trifecta with 8:26 remaining in the contest to give the Monks their largest lead of the night at 61-31 and Quinn matched her later in the period with her third three-ball to keep the lead at 30 with just under five minutes to play. Stapelfeld cut the margin to 69-43 with 2:38 for the Sharks, but Saint Joseph's cruised to the victory at 72-45.
Simmons returns to action on Saturday, January 26 when it hosts GNAC rival Colby-Sawyer College at 3:00 p.m., while Saint Joseph's hosts Suffolk University on the same day at 1:00 p.m.