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Women's Basketball Posts First Ever Victory Over GNAC Champion Emmanuel

SUFFOLK WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Regan Gymnasium, Boston, Mass.

FINAL:  SUFFOLK 66, EMMANUEL 55

BOSTON, Mass.--  Freshman Christie Iwanicki (Newtown, Conn.) scored a career-high 15 points to lead three players in double figures as Suffolk ended Emmanuel’s 24-game Great Northeast Athletic Conference women’s basketball winning streak by notching a 66-55 league victory Saturday afternoon at Regan Gymnasium.

The host Rams (14-6, 8-2 Great Northeast) posted their first-ever win in the 33 game series with the visiting Saints (16-6, 9-1 Great Northeast) and in the process handed Emmanuel just its second regular season conference setback in 98 decisions dating back to the 1999-2000 season.  The visitors last fell in league regular season play on February 6, 2006 to Western New England (64-61) and have now lost only three times ever to Great Northeast opponents, including a setback in the 2006 conference championship game to Norwich.

Suffolk raced out to a 17-7 advantage in the first 13 minutes of the contest and forced the Saints to miss 10 of their first 13 shots, but Emmanuel roared back by scoring 12 of the game’s next 14 points to even matters at 19-19.  A pair of free throws by senior Katlyn Klecha (Fairfield, Conn.), coupled with a lay-in by senior Stephanie Morrissey (Abington, Mass.), gave the Rams a 25-21 cushion at the break, and after sophomore Stephanie Zito (Guilford, Conn.) extended the hosts’ edge to six (27-21) in the first minute after intermission, the Saints used an 13-5 run over a three-minute stretch to take a 34-32 lead on a lay-in by sophomore Iman Davis (New Britain, Conn.) with 16:12 to play.

That would prove to be final Emmanuel advantage of the afternoon, however, as after the Rams forged the last tie of the day (39-39), Suffolk used a 7-0 run over 2:05 stretch to take a 46-39 lead on a lay-in by junior Kerry Bowman (Guilford, Conn.) with 10:02 remaining, and the Rams built that margin to 10 points over the next five minutes, grabbing a 54-44 edge with 5:37 to play on a Morrissey jumper.  The Saints made one last run, slicing their deficit to four (57-53) on a lay-in by senior Jade Paez (Bronx, N.Y) with 2:21 remaining, but a combined eight free throws by Iwanicki, Klecha and junior Meghan Tracey (Rehoboth, Mass.) in the final 1:42 of action sealed the hosts’ triumph.

“This win is a credit to our kids and to the way they defended all day,” Suffolk Head Coach Ed Leyden said after the victory.  “Emmanuel can beat you in so many ways, and I was very proud of the way we held our composure and made the plays we needed to make.”

Morrissey finished with 13 points and seven rebounds in the win for the Rams, who also received 10 points and eight boards off the bench from Bowman.  Klecha and fellow senior Katie Castignetti (Braintree, Mass.) each added seven points for the winners, who also received six points and a career-high 17 rebounds from Tracey as well as six points and five caroms from Zito.  Suffolk shot 36 percent from the field and overcame 25 turnovers by controlling the boards with a 54-39 rebounding edge, and the Rams held a 23-9 scoring advantage at the foul line while netting 15 second chance points.

Davis led all scorers with 28 points while matching Tracey’s 17 rebounds for a double-double effort in the setback for Emmanuel, which also received 10 points from Paez.  Freshman Kristin LeBel (Tolland, Conn.) added eight points, six rebounds and four steals on the day for the Saints, who shot 34 percent from the floor and recorded 16 steals for the contest.

Suffolk hosts Saint Joseph (Conn.) in a Great Northeast outing on Tuesday evening at Regan Gymnasium beginning at 7:00 p.m., while Emmanuel hosts Emerson in a Great Northeast match-up on Tuesday evening at the Jean Yawkey Center across town that begins at 7:30 p.m.