PROVIDENCE, RI– It took two overtimes to determine the winner of the GNAC Women's Basketball Tournament Semifinal game between Johnson & Wales University and St. Joseph's College (Me.). Unfortunately, the Wildcats came out on the short end of the stick as they dropped a 91-90 decision on Thursday.
Johnson & Wales: 19-8
St. Joseph's: 23-4
Kimberly Viafara (Woodside, NY) made two free throws with 26 seconds left in regulation to put JWU up 69-66, but Kelsi McNamara sank a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. In the first extra period, Kristen Habbel (Phoenixville, Pa) drilled a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats an 81-78 lead with 12 seconds remaining but the Monks once again had an answer. Julia Champagne hit a three with five seconds left to push the game to a second overtime.
A Viafara layup at the 1:23 mark of the second OT put the Wildcats up 87-84, but the Monks went 7-8 from the free throw line to take the lead then seal the victory.
JWU had four players in double figures. The senior Viafara finished her Wildcat career with a personal-best 26 points and 12 rebounds as she produced her ninth double-double in the last 12 games. Raquel Pederzani (Coventry, RI) nearly had a triple-double with 18 points, a career-best 12 assists and seven rebounds. Ashley Thompson had 22 points and seven rebounds while Ally Mishol (Longmeadow, Mass.) scored 10 points off the bench.
The free throw line was the difference as the Monks were 26-36 from the stripe compared to 15-23 by the Wildcats. The Wildcats had a 45.9%-37.8% shooting advantage as well as a 48-42 margin on the boards.
Johnson & Wales should be poised for another run next year as head coach Corey Boilard returns four of his five starters.