April 24, 2008
The Emmanuel College Women's Basketball Team wrapped up another phenomenal season with the program's 12th Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship and 13th NCAA Tournament appearance. This season marked Emmanuel's eighth-straight 20-win season. The Saints finished up the season with an overall record of 22-7 and a 12-1 conference mark.
Heading into the 2007-08 season, the Saints were ranked 13th nationally in the D3hoops.com pre-season poll. Emmanuel was coming off a record-setting 2006-07 season, which included a trip to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and a program-record 29 wins. The team suffered a couple of disappointing non-conference's losses early this season, but the Saints bounced back and stormed into GNAC play in early January.
Emmanuel's conference run was near flawless, with the team losing just one game during the regular season GNAC stretch, falling to cross-town rival Suffolk University on February 9th. The Saints were able to avenge this loss when they met Suffolk again in the GNAC Championship on March 1st. The team's characteristic trapping defense and run-and-gun offense helped Emmanuel to its 2nd-straight conference championship and another NCAA bid. Emmanuel met The College at Brockport in the opening round of the NCAAs. After a hard fought battle, the Saints were defeated by the Golden Eagles by a score of 68-64.
The Saints were fortunate enough to have the amazing experience of traveling to Beijing, China over their winter break. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure carried the team halfway around the globe to witness firsthand some of the world's most amazing sights. The historic trip featured the team playing in several exhibition games, as well as climbing the Great Wall and experiencing the culture of China.
Throughout the season, the Saints' characteristic pressure defense racked up a total of 529 steals, leading the country in this category. The Saints were the NCAA statistical champions, averaging 18.2 steals per game. Emmanuel's sophomore guard Iman Davis (Toms River, NJ) led the Saints' tenacious defense with 4.4 steals per outing. Davis' 129 thefts this year was good enough for 4th in the nation and 1st in the GNAC.
Davis also led Emmanuel in both scoring and rebounding this season. She netted 17.5 points per game to lead the team and the conference. She also hauled in 7.7 boards per game for 223 on the year. Throughout the season, Davis was named the GNAC Player of the Week five times and ECAC-New England Player of the Week once. She was subsequently voted the 2008 Great Northeast Athletic Conference's Player of the Year, as well as ECAC 2nd Team All-New England.
The Saints' senior shooting guard Jade Paez (Bronx, NY) hit for 12.1 points and dished out 90 assists this season. Paez led the team from beyond the arc, connecting on 55 three-pointers this year. Paez was a D3hoops.com pre-season All-American pick. She was named to the Emmanuel College Tip-Off All-Tournament Team and to the GNAC All-Tournament Team. Paez became Emmanuel's 17th player in program history to score 1,000 career points on December 4th in a win over MIT. Her efforts this season helped her earn GNAC 1st Team All-Conference honors. Paez was also written into the GNAC record books this season, when she became the conference's 2nd all-time leader for steals in a career with a total of 353.
Emmanuel's third leading scorer this season was senior forward Jacque Pannell (Bloomfield, CT). Pannell averaged 7.7 points and grabbed 5.1 rebounds per game. She was voted the GNAC Tournament's Most Valuable Player and the GNAC Player of the Week for her performances during the final week of the season. Pannell was also a part of the Emmanuel College Tip-Off Tournament's All-Tournament Team.
The Saints received big minutes from several key rookies. Freshman point guard Casey Shevlin (Medford, NY) started in 19 of 24 games this season. She dished out 84 assists and tallied 67 steals, while averaging 24 minutes per game. Shevlin's classmate and fellow backcourt member, Kristin LeBel (Tolland, CT) came off the bench and chipped in with 6.1 points per game. Lebel scored a season-high 18 points in the Saints' January 26th win over Saint Joseph College. She was named to the GNAC Weekly Honor Roll for her performances in Emmanuel's games that week.
Other key contributors this season include seniors Leah Lipschitz (Bayside, NY) and Maura Mooney (Essex Junction, VT), as well as sophomore forward Abigail Brenkach (Germantown, NY). Lipschitz was good for 6.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, while Mooney netted 4.1 points and pulled down 2.4 rebounds each night. Brenkach started in 20 of 28 games this season at the center position. She hauled in just under 4 rebounds per game, while averaging only 14 minutes per outing.
Along with Paez, Pannell, Lipschitz, and Mooney, the Saints will also lose senior forwards Sara Long (Oakland, NJ), Erica Wenz (Bayport, NY), and Kathleen Brice (Chelmsford, MA) to graduation this May. Together these seniors have been a part of three GNAC Championship teams and have an incredible combined 4-year record of 101 wins and just 20 losses.
Head Coach Andy Yosinoff will return in 2008 for his 32nd season with the Saints. Yosinoff will return eight players and three starters from last season's squad. He will look to add some solid recruits to the team for the 2008-09 season.