NEWTON, Mass. – The Lasell University women's basketball team gave league-leading and defending champion Emmanuel College all it could handle Tuesday evening but the visiting Saints pulled out a 68-62 victory over the Lasers in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) regular season finale for both schools at the Lasell Athletic Center.
The Saints clinch at least a share of the GNAC regular season crown with a 9-2 mark and an 18-7 overall record, while the Lasers wind up the season at 3-8 in conference play and 10-14 overall. The 10 wins is the most since the 2015-16 Lasers finished at 12-14 overall.
Senior Amanda Ortiz (Newton, Mass.) led the Lasers with 20 points and 12 rebounds, her eighth double-double of the season. Senior D'Asia Allen (Providence, R.I.) tallied 16 points, making three 3-pointers, and junior Precious Montgomery (Bridgeport, Conn.) contributed 11 points and 12 board for her fifth double-double, all in her last eight games.
Ortiz finishes the season with team-high averages of 20.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game, ranking third in the GNAC in scoring, sixth in rebounding and first in steals. She also ranks 21st nationally in points per game and 16th in steals per game.
The Saints got 20 points and a career-high 21 rebounds from senior Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda (Cambridge, Mass.), the reigning Division III National Player of the Week. Freshman Caitlin Barker (Plainville, Conn.) scored 14 points off the bench, including four 3-pointers, and senior Kayla Weaver (West Haven, Conn.) added 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.
The upset-minded Lasers led 16-13 after one quarter and 38-33 at the half. Emmanuel came back with at 17-9 third-quarter edge to pull ahead 50-47 after three quarters, but couldn't pull away from the determined hosts. Lasell was within one point, 56-55, with five minutes remaining in the game, but Emmanuel went on an eight-point run over the next three minutes to pull ahead 64-55 with 1:32 to play.
Lasell did not give in, and got a basket from Montgomery and a pair of free throws from Ortiz to cut the margin back to five points (64-59) with 42 seconds to play. Weaver and Ortiz exchanged a pair of free throws each to keep it a two-possession game with 26 seconds remaining, but that's as close as Lasell could get and Emmanuel held on for the win.
Ramirez went over the 1,500-point plateau for her three-year career at Emmanuel, moving into fourth place on the school's career scoring list with 1,509 points.
The outcome was also career win No. 850 for Emmanuel coach Andy Yosinoff, making him just the 12th women's basketball coach at any NCAA level to reach the mark, one of only six active coaches to do so and the first-ever NCAA D-III coach.
The Saints are now idle until the GNAC Quarterfinals on Tuesday, February 25. They currently sit atop the GNAC with a 9-2 record and can clinch the No. 1 seed with a Saint Joseph's (ME) victory over Regis College this coming Saturday in both squad's regular-season finale.
*Release courtesy of Lasell University Athletic Communications