#1 Emmanuel College, 58; #4 Suffolk University, 57
Emmanuel College Saints (20-7, 9-2 GNAC)
Suffolk University Rams (18-9, 8-2 GNAC)
Location: Boston, Mass. – Andy Yosinoff Court
Date: Thursday, February 25, 2020
THE LEAD – Seniors Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda (Cambridge, Mass.) and Kayla Weaver (West Haven, Conn.) combined for 41 points to power top-seeded Emmanuel College past No. 4 Suffolk University, 58-57, in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Semifinal action Thursday evening on the Andy Yosinoff Court. Ramirez-Tejeda posted her nation-leading 21st double-double of the season and Weaver became the 25th player in program history to score 1,000 points in an EC uniform during the victory.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Saint led 51-43 after three quarters of play but Suffolk opened the final quarter with a 7-2 spurt to cut the lead to a single possession at 53-50 following a back-door layup by junior forward Jordan Hipwell (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) with 6:36 to play.
- Both sides traded hoops to a 56-54 score with less than two minutes to play when Suffolk junior guard Jenni-Rose DiCecco (Falmouth, Mass.) connected on a three pointer from the top of the key to give the Rams their first lead of the second half at 57-56 with 1:58 left.
- On Emmanuel's ensuing offensive possession, the Saints missed a three but Weaver was there for the rebound and put-back to lift the hosts back on top, 58-57, with 1:30 remaining.
- EC forced a Ram's turnover with 1:13 on the clock, drawing a foul on their next set with just one tic left on the shot clock to try and extend the lead from the line but both free throw attempts back rimmed. Sophomore forward Riley Lahiff (North Attleboro, Mass.) came up with a huge offensive board on the second miss to extend the possession but the Saints ultimately turned it over back over to the Rams with 27 seconds remaining in regulation.
- Out of a timeout, the Rams tried to isolate Hipwell in the post to take the lead but EC sophomore forward Loredana D'Agostino (Broad Brook, Conn.) came up with a huge block with five seconds left in the game.
- After several attempts to inbound the ball under their own hoop, Suffolk got the ball in play for a chance at the win but the Rams shot clanked the iron to secure Emmanuel's second straight trip to the GNAC finals with a 58-57 win.
- Suffolk was in control in the first quarter of play, leading 14-13 after one before Emmanuel picked up the defensive intensity in the second quarter to take a 34-27 lead into the break aided by a buzzer-beating three by junior guard Jamad Fiin (Boston, Mass.). Ramirez-Tejeda also scored 13 points in the quarter on 5-of-7 shooting from the field.
- In an evenly matched third quarter, Emmanuel increased its lead to as many as 12 (42-30) with 6:05 to play before Suffolk trimmed the hosts lead to eight at 51-43 to set up the thrilling GNAC Semifinal finish.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Ramirez-Tejeda finished the night with a game-high 26 points to go along with 13 rebounds for her fifth consecutive and 21st double-double of the season. The senior is also two points shy of moving into third all-time in scoring at Emmanuel in just three seasons and would surpass Fiona O'Dwyer '13 who finished her Emmanuel career with 1,557 points.
- Weaver finished the night with 15 points including the 1,000th of her Emmanuel career which came during the first quarter. She is the 25th player in program history to reach the milestone and the first since Ramirez-Tejeda hit the mark last season in the GNAC Championship game vs. Saint Joseph's (ME).
- DiCecco paced the Rams with a team-high 16-point outing while senior Alexis Hackett (Charlton, Mass.) finished with a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds.
- D'Agostino also added 10 boards in the win marking the fifth time this season she's grabbed 10+ rebounds for the Saints.
- Emmanuel improves to 16-1 on the year when holding opponents to less than 60 points.
- The Rams owned a 48-40 edge in rebounding marking the first time EC has been outrebounded since February 1st when they last played Suffolk.
- EC improves to 32-3 all-time against their crosstown rivals.
- The Saints advance to the GNAC Championship for a repeat of the 2019 match-up, hosting No. 2 Saint Joseph's College (ME) on Saturday, February 29 at 1:00 PM. Emmanuel captured last year's title with a 65-64 instant classic up in Standish, Maine for the program's 16th GNAC crown.
- The Rams close out the 2019-20 campaign with an 18-9 final record.