May 10, 2011
The Emmanuel College Women's Basketball Team posted another extremely successful season during the 2010-11 academic year. The Saints won the program's 5th-straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship and made Emmanuel's 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Emmanuel squad went 21-8 overall and a perfect 12-0 during conference play this year. The Saints wrapped up the season with a streak that included winning 17 of their last 19 games.
Head Coach Andy Yosinoff, who just completed his 34th season with the program, combined an experienced backcourt with a youthful and athletic frontcourt en route to the program's 11th-straight 20-plus win season. After an early and grueling non-conference schedule, the Saints cruised through the GNAC with an undefeated record and received the top seed and hosting rights throughout the conference tournament. Emmanuel topped Johnson & Wales University in the tournament quarterfinals, Saint Joseph College (CT) in the semifinals and Suffolk University in the tournament championship.
With the program's 13th GNAC Championship in hand, Emmanuel received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Saints traveled to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where Emmanuel faced the 26-2 Knights of Mount Saint Mary College. The Knights shot lights out in the game and the Saints suffered a 73-50 loss in the NCAA Regional.
Coach Yosinoff, one of five finalists for the Red Auerbach College Coach of the Year Award, relied heavily on the leadership of his senior backcourt tandem of Kristin LeBel (Tolland, Conn.) and Casey Shevlin (Medford, N.Y.). LeBel, a four-year starter and three-time All-Conference selection, will graduate in May as the program's 6th all-time leading scorer and the GNAC's 12th all-time scoring leader. Shelvin, the team's starting point guard for the past four years, will leave Emmanuel as one of the Saints' and the GNAC's all-time assist leaders. The senior floor general dished out over four and a half assists per game.
Yosinoff got big numbers from junior transfer Meghan Kirwan (Melrose, Mass.), who immediately earned a starting position in the Saints' backcourt. Kirwan led the team in scoring (14.5 points per game) and shot over 50% from the floor, while hauling in 6.3 rebounds per game. She was named the Most Valuable Player of the GNAC Tournament and a 1st Team All-GNAC selection.
Sophomore forward Fiona O'Dwyer (Stamford, Conn.) was key for the Saints down low. O'Dwyer led the team on the glass with 7.4 boards per game, while averaging 13.4 points and shooting 48.9% from the field. O'Dwyer recorded five double-doubles this season and was named 3rd Team All-GNAC.
Several players shared time as the Saints fifth starter. Coach Yosinoff looked to freshman center Victoria Johnson (Syracuse, N.Y.), who stepped into the starting role later in the season. Johnson led the team in field goal percentage, knocking down 63 of her 109 shots from the floor (57.8%).
The Saints excelled off the court this year as well. Emmanuel players combined to post a cumulative grade point average of 3.38 during the Fall semester and 3.51 during the Spring semester of the 2010-11 academic year. "This was our highest-ever cumulative GPA," commented Coach Yosinoff.
Yosinoff will lose both, LeBel and Shevlin, as well as seniors Carla Andre (Medford, Mass.) and Pamela Mobley (Worcester, Mass.) to graduation this year. However, three returning starters in Kirwan, O'Dwyer and Johnson, as well as sharp-shooting guard Breanna Ockimey (Philadelphia, Pa.), are included among a talented group of eleven veterans that will make up next year's squad. Yosinoff has also brought in another athletic and accomplished recruiting class that will look to make waves during the 2011-12 campaign.