Boston, Mass.-- The Suffolk University women’s basketball team will be participating in some March Madness of their own this week, as Head Coach Ed Leyden’s Rams are one of eight teams that have been selected to participate in the 2008 ECAC Division III New England Women’s Basketball Championships.
Suffolk, which has set a school single-season record with 20 victories in 28 contests to date, is seeded fifth in this year’s tournament and will travel to Beverly, Mass. on Wednesday, March 5th to take on fourth-seeded Endicott College (18-9) in quarterfinal round play at the Post Center beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Leyden, who was named last week as the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career, has guided Suffolk to its most successful campaign in school history in a season that included his 200th career triumph back on January 15th in a 77-49 win at Pine Manor, as the Rams enter post-season play having won 17 of their last 21 outings dating back to December 8th. Suffolk, which finished second in GNAC regular season play at 11-2 and advanced to the conference championship game last Saturday against Emmanuel, ranks among the nation’s best defensive units, as Leyden’s crew allows just 53.6 points per game while also allowing opponents to shoot just 36 percent from the field.
Junior Meghan Tracey (Rehoboth, Mass./Saint Raphael Academy) paces the Rams in both scoring and rebounding at 10 ppg and 7.2 caroms per contest, while sophomore Stephanie Zito (Guilford, Conn./Guilford), an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection, follows at 9.8 ppg with a team-high 29 three-pointers. Senior Katie Castignetti (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) is next at 9.4 ppg while grabbing six boards and dishing out a team-high 2.8 assists per game, while fellow senior Stephanie Morrissey (Abington, Mass./Thayer Academy) earned third-team all-GNAC accolades this winter, as she led Suffolk with 50 steals while adding 6.3 ppg on the offensive side.
Wednesday’s quarterfinal round match-up with Endicott will mark the second meeting of the season between the two squads, as Head Coach Jennifer Lucey’s Gulls notched a 79-54 non-league triumph back on November 27th at the Post Center. Endicott captured The Commonwealth Coast Conference regular season title with a 12-1 league mark, but the Gulls fell to eventual tournament champion Colby-Sawyer in the league semi-finals last Thursday evening. Junior Nicole Duchesne paces Lucey’s crew in scoring at 15 ppg, while sophomore Ceciley Chisholm adds 11.7 ppg and a team-best 7.6 rebounds per contest.
The winner of the Suffolk-Endicott quarterfinal game will advance to the semi-final round of the 2008 ECAC Division III New England Women’s Basketball Championships on Saturday, March 8th to take on the winner of the match-up between top-seeded Coast Guard (22-5) and eighth-seeded Maine Maritime (19-9), with the championship game set for Sunday, March 9th. Wednesday’s other two quarterfinal round games will pit second-seeded Western Connecticut (20-6) against seventh-seeded Nichols (20-7) and third-seeded Fitchburg State (18-8) taking on sixth-seeded Western New England (18-10).