PROVIDENCE, RI– The two teams predicted to win their respective divisions in the GNAC squared off Tuesday night. Poor shooting by Johnson & Wales University in the second half allowed St. Joseph's (ME) to come away with a 62-44 victory.
St. Joseph's (ME): 10-2, 4-0 GNAC
Johnson & Wales: 6-6, 1-2 GNAC
Johnson & Wales took a 30-26 lead into the locker room and Ashley Thompson (Bellingham, Mass.) knocked down a jumper at the 5:24 mark of the third period to put JWU up 34-32. Unfortunately, the Wildcats wouldn't make another basket until Raquel Pederzani (Coventry, RI) hit a three pointer with 11 seconds left in the frame.
During that time, the Monks built a 43-34 lead as part of a 20-3 run. Kelsi McNamara sank two free throws at the 6:20 mark to give the visitors a 52-37 advantage.
Cold shooting in the second half did in the Wildcats as they hit only 21.4 percent in the final 20 minutes for an overall rate of 29.1 percent (16-of-55). Conversely, the Monks shot 43.8 percent (21-of-48) thanks to a 55 percent rate in the second half.
Leading the Wildcats' offense was Thompson as she posted a team-high 16 points and grabbed eight boards. Pederzani was next at 10 points while dishing out five assists.
McNamara led all players with 18 points and just missed a double-double with nine assists. Emily Benway added 14 points and seven rebounds while Hannah Marks came off the bench for eight points and seven rebounds.
The Wildcats continue their four-game home stand on Saturday when they take on Albertus Magnus at 1 p.m.