WESTON, Mass. - The Regis (Mass.) women's basketball team could not maintain an 11 point edge on Tuesday evening, as the Pride suffered a 72-66 defeat to Emmanuel College in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action at Higgins Court.
With the loss, the Pride falls to 14-10 overall on the season and 11-4 in GNAC play. The Saints clinch the second seed in the GNAC Tournament with the win, improving to 18-6 overall and 14-1 in the GNAC. With a Johnson & Wales loss to Albertus Magnus earlier in the day, the Pride still controls its own destiny for securing a top four seed in the tournament and the right to host a first round GNAC Tournament game with one game remaining.
Before the game, the Regis Athletic Department welcomed the Regis Children's Center and celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The day is reserved to reflect on the evolution of women in sports, with the purpose of encouraging young athletes to explore and learn about the rich history that has been created by female athletes over the last several decades.
The defenses were the story of the first half, with the Pride holding the conference's second-leading scoring offense to just 21 points. Senior Brittany Stone (West Bridgewater, Mass.) dominated on the boards in the period with 10 rebounds to just 14 by the entire Emmanuel team.
Stone and junior Sam D'Angelo (Woburn, Mass.) were the offensive leaders in the half, with 12 and 10 points respectively. The Saints were led by junior Maddie McLaughlin (Westerly, R.I.) with six points in the half. The teams went to the break with the Pride in front 27-21.
The second half was nothing like the first however, as the offensive firepower went to work for both teams. Buckets by senior Shannon Hayes (Billerica, Mass.) and freshman Nikki Bitinaitis (Cromwell, Conn.) to open the second half gave the Pride its largest lead of the game at 32-21, but Emmanuel would battle back from there. McLaughlin responded with a pair of threes to cut the score down to five, and the Saints would continue to chip away. A jump shot by sophomore Kayla Weaver (West Haven, Conn.) tied the score up at 47 with 17 seconds left in the third to send the game to the final 10 minutes all knotted up.
The Saints jumped ahead early in the fourth quarter, forcing the host Pride to play catch up for the majority of the period. After sophomore Taylor Iorfino (Monroe, Conn.) opened the quarter with a layup for Regis, senior Alisha Fox (National Park, N.J.) and McLaughlin hit back to back threes for Emmanuel to put their team ahead by four at 53-49.
The Pride would recover as an Iorfino free throw with 6:01 left evened the score at 57, but the Saints would again get the next surge. The Saints went on a 7-0 run, which the Pride answered with a 7-0 run of its own to tie the score at 64-64 with 2:25 left, but Emmanuel would get the final blow. After the teams traded runs, the Saints secured the victory with an 8-0 run of their own. Yuleska Ramirez-Tejada (South Boston, Mass.) and Weaver both converted old-fashioned three-point plays during the game-clinching run.
McLaughlin, who hit six triples on the night, and Weaver both put home 20 points for the Saints to lead all scorers on the evening. Stone was the Pride's leading scorer and the game's leading rebounder on the night, with 19 points and 19 boards. D'Angelo (15) and Bitinaitis (10) were also in double figures for the Pride.
Next up for the Pride, they'll wrap up the regular season with a road game against Rivier at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The Saints will return to action the same day, hosting Anna Maria to round out its regular season.