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Women's Basketball Advances To GNAC Championship Game With 53-52 Semi-Final Triumph Over Norwich

2008 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Semi-Finals
Friday, February 29, 2008
Jean Yawkey Center, Boston, Mass.


BOSTON, Mass.--  Senior Katie Castignetti (Braintree, Mass.) converted a pair of free throws with 11.4 seconds remaining as second-seeded Suffolk advanced to the 2008 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball championship game with a 53-52 victory over third-seeded Norwich in semi-final round play Friday evening at Emmanuel’s Jean Yawkey Center.

The Rams, who set a school record for victories in one season in improving to 20-7 overall, will face top-seeded and host Emmanuel (21-6) in Saturday’s championship game at the Jean Yawkey Center beginning at 3:00 p.m., as the Saints notched an 82-57 victory over fourth-seeded Johnson & Wales in Friday’s first semi-final contest.

A game that saw five ties and 11 lead changes saw Suffolk score 15 of the final 22 points before halftime to snap a 15-15 tie and take a 30-22 advantage at the break, and the Rams extended that margin to 10 points on two occasions early after intermission before taking a 48-41 edge with 6:55 to play.  The Cadets, who end their season at 12-14 overall, began a furious comeback on a pair of free throws by sophomore Erica Rate (Weymouth, Mass.) on the ensuing possession that sparked what proved to be a 10-3 run over a 6:10 stretch, as Norwich took the lead on a jumper by sophomore Ally Daniels (Concord, N.H.) with 35 seconds to play to cap that run.  Castignetti was then fouled going to the basket on the ensuing Suffolk possession, and her only two points of the evening proved to be the difference, as Rate missed a potential game-winning three-pointer with three seconds left to allow the Rams to advance.

Freshman Christie Iwanicki (Newtown, Conn.) led Suffolk in the scoring column with 13 points, including a pair of three-pointers, while junior Meghan Tracey (Rehoboth, Mass.) added 10 points and five rebounds for the Rams, who also received nine points and five boards from junior Kerry Bowman (Guilford, Conn.).  Sophomore Laura Thompson (Kennebunk, Maine) came off the bench to score six points for the winners, who also received four assists and five caroms from senior Stephanie Morrissey (Abington, Mass.) and three assists from Castignetti.  Suffolk shot 35 percent from the field and converted 19 turnovers into 16 points, but the Rams shot just 48 percent from the charity stripe for the contest, converting 11 of 23 at the line, including the winners from Castignetti.

Ally Daniels paced Norwich in the scoring column with a game-high 19 points to go with six rebounds, while sophomore Jess Jaggars (Vergennes, Vt.) added nine points and a game-high eight rebounds off the bench for the Cadets.  Junior Kayleigh Shappy (Burlington, Vt.) chipped in with nine points as well in the setback, while freshman Christine Daniels (Concord, N.H.) collected eight points for Norwich, which shot 38 percent from the floor but connected on only 1-of-11 attempts from behind the arc.  The Cadets held a 41-36 rebounding advantage for the evening, but Suffolk held a 10-2 edge in second chance points.

Suffolk and Emmanuel will meet for the second time this season in Saturday’s championship game, as the Rams posted their first-ever victory in the all-time series with the Saints back on February 9th with a 66-55 triumph at Regan Gymnasium.  The title game appearance is the first for Suffolk since 2000.