College notebook: St. Joe's women on a roll in GNAC basketball

Jan. 18—Tuesday's 83-67 win over Emmanuel was definitely a measuring stick win for the St. Joseph's College women's basketball team, said Coach Mike McDevitt. Even so, McDevitt cautioned the win is just a snapshot of a moment in a long season, not an oracle predicting future success.

"With the history we have with Emmanuel, it's a big win. Every year, they're winning the conference championship or playing for it," McDevitt said.

The win was the eighth in a row for the Monks, who improved to 7-0 in Great Northeast Athletic Conference games, 12-3 overall. The win gives St. Joe's a two-game cushion over Emmanuel in the league's North division.

The win also snapped a six-game losing streak to Emmanuel, including losses in the last three conference championship games. On Tuesday night, St. Joe's outrebounded the taller Saints, 32-29. Both teams shot at least 50% from 3-point range, with St. Joe's 9 for 18 and Emmanuel 7 for 13. The difference came with shots in the paint and short jumpers. Emmanuel made just 33% of its 2-point tries (17 for 51). The Monks shot 54% from 2-point range (19 for 35) and made 18 of 22 free throws, and Emmanuel went 12 for 23 at the line.

"They had the height advantage of all five positions," McDevitt said. "They were getting pretty good shots, even getting two or three shots occasionally. They just weren't going in."

The Monks are led by a strong junior class, which includes starting guards Nina Howe of York, Hannah Talon of Windham and Angelica Hurley. The backcourt trio are the Monks' top three scorers, combining to average just over 35 points per game, and also combining for 10.6 assists per game. In each of St. Joe's last three games, each has led the team in scoring. Talon scored 21 points Tuesday in the victory over Emmanuel. Hurley's 16 points led the team in a 65-60 win over St. Joseph of Connecticut and Howe paced the Monks with 15 points in a 71-53 win at Norwich.

McDevitt also pointed to freshman guard Elisabeth Stapelfeld, who scored a career-high 17 points in Tuesday's win, as a key contributor to the Monks' balanced offense. The win over Emmanuel was the fourth time in the last five games Stapelfeld scored in double figures.

After a 2020-21 season in which the Monks were able to play just six games against Maine competition because of the pandemic, and falling in the conference championship last season, the team is self-motivated, said McDevitt, and that frees him up to focus on X's and O's.

"This group of kids is a really easy group to coach, because they get it," McDevitt said.

After games against Johnson & Wales (6-9, 3-5) and Colby-Sawyer (4-10, 2-5), St. Joe's next big conference test comes Jan. 28 at Albertus Magnus (14-1, 9-0), which leads the South division. The winner of that game could end up hosting the GNAC tournament.

"They're a really athletic team, and defensively, a really dangerous team," McDevitt said of Albertus Magnus.

EVERY TIME senior Jack Kane swats a shot, he adds to his University of Maine at Farmington record of career blocks. With 44 this season, the Greely High grad has 211 blocks for his career. Kane ranks seventh in NCAA Division III in total blocks this season, and fifth nationally in blocks per game (3.14).

With nine regular-season games left and at his current pace, Kane should break his personal high of 69 blocks, set last season.

A PAIR OF USM basketball players earned Rookie of the Week honors from the Little East and state coaches' associations in women's and men's basketball leagues this week.

Vanessa Vaughan earned the conference's women's basketball Rookie of the Week honor after averaging 13.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in three games for the Huskies last week. It was the third LEC Rookie of the Week honor this season for the guard/forward from Hantsport, Nova Scotia, who also earned Rookie of the Week accolades from the Maine Women's Basketball Coaches' Association.

For the USM men's basketball team, freshman guard Diego Colon averaged 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in a pair of games to earn Rookie of the Week from the Maine Men's Basketball Coaches and Writers' Association. It was the first Rookie of the Week honor of the season for the New Braunfels, Texas, native.

USM's Janiah Young was named Little East Women's Track and Field Rookie of the Week after wining three events in a meet at MIT Saturday. Young, of Perkinsville, Vermont, took firsts in the 60 meters (8.15 seconds), 200 (26.98 seconds) and long jump (16 feet, 6 inches).

Winning the men's 400 with a time of 54.2 seconds at the MIT meet for the Huskies, South Portland's Brady Guay earned the Little East's Men's Track Rookie of the Week.