BOSTON, Mass. – The Emmanuel College women's basketball team closed the books on the 2013-14 campaign with a 19-8 overall record, posting an 11-0 mark during regular season play in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. The Saints earned the No. 1 seed in the GNAC tournament but were upset in the GNAC Quarterfinals by No. 8 Norwich, 84-78, in overtime. EC had a chance to resurrect their post-season hopes, earning the No. 1 seed in the ECAC DIII New England Championship, only to be upset again by No. 8 seeded Brandeis University, 64-55, to end the season.
The Saints opened the season strong, posting a pair of wins over Stevenson University and Ohio Wesleyan to capture the title of the 30th Annual EC Invitational Tournament on their home court. Junior guard Britni Mikulanecz (Portland, Maine) was named the Tournament MVP while senior forward Jasmine Burwell (Brentwood, N.J.) and junior forward Lena Negri (Arlington, Va.) were named to the All-Tournament team.
In the early part of the season, Emmanuel entertained a very difficult non-conference schedule with games against NESCAC, LEC and UAA opponents. The Saints were able to record victories over Rhode Island College (70-58), Middlebury (65-43), Salem State (80-57) and Endicott (63-52) before the semesters close to head into the winter break with a 6-3 mark.
Over the break, the Saints headed South to play in the 6th Annual Key Largo Classic, dropping the first game by a point (55-54) to Austin College before defeating Bridgewater State 68-62 in the consolation game behind a monster double-double from Negri of 27 points and 14 rebounds.
EC opened up GNAC play with a 49-37 victory over Norwich and downed Salve Regina the next night, 67-50. On January 20, the squad posted an 83-64 win over Lasell College behind double figures from senior Liz Daley (Sharon, Mass.), and junior forwards Vanessa Bramante (Stoneham, Mass.) and Jennifer Bujnowski (Salem, N.H.).
On January 22, the Saints battled the No. 4 team in the country on the road, and despite holding a first half lead would eventually give way to Tufts University, 66-56 in their final non-conference match-up of the regular season.
Emmanuel would begin a nine-game winning streak on January 25 with a 73-34 win over Mount Ida College in which 23 players found the scoring column. The opened February with a big win over Suffolk University (76-63) in a rematch of the 2013 GNAC title game before downing the eventual GNAC Champions in Saint Joseph's (ME), 74-66, behind 11 point outings from sophomores Sarah Higgins (Groveland, Mass.) and Shaniya Rentie (Owings Mills, Md.).
Over the final GNAC games of the regular season, the Saints cruised into the playoffs outscoring their opponents by an average of 17.2 points per game to finish another regular season with an unblemished conference mark of 11-0. The Saints are currently on a 52-game regular-season GNAC winning streak dating back to the 2009-10 campaign.
With hopes to capture the program's 8th straight and 16th overall GNAC Championship, the Saints were unable to deliver as the Norwich Cadets stunned the EC community with an 84-74 upset victory over Emmanuel in the GNAC Quarterfinals.
Despite earning the No. 1 seed in the ECAC tournament, the Saints found themselves with a tough draw against No. 8 Brandeis whom had already defeated EC during the regular season. The results were similar in the tournament as the Judges posted a 64-55 win to end the Saints season.
Negri was named to the GNAC All Conference First Team while Higgins was tabbed to the GNAC Third Team.
The Saints return all but two graduating seniors in Daley and Burwell and will look to return to the top of the GNAC totem pole in 2014-15.