BOSTON, Mass. – The Emmanuel College women's basketball team used a strong defensive effort and a well-rounded offensive performance to begin the 2015-16 season with a victory, defeating Salve Regina, 74-45, in the opening round of the 32nd Annual EC Invitational on Saturday afternoon. The Saints advance to Sunday's championship contest at 3:00 p.m. or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the consolation game. EC will face the Babson Beavers, who knocked off Baruch earlier in today's action.
Offensively, the Saints were led by junior Alexis Ezell (Acworth, Ga.), who scored 14 points off the bench and also picked up six rebounds in just 11 minutes of play. No one played more than 19 minutes for the Saints, as 16 players touched the floor and 11 of them scored at least two points.
Emmanuel outscored the Seahawks by eight points total in the first, third and fourth quarters, but the second quarter proved to be the difference for the hosts. The Saints held Salve Regina scoreless over the final 6:59 of the quarter, while scoring 15 points of their own to take a 43-20 lead into the halftime break.
Senior Sarah Higgins (Groveland, Mass.) scored all ten of her points in the first half, but the story was the defense, as the Saints forced 24 turnovers from the visitors in the opening 20 minutes of play and 34 for the game. Higgins had three of Emmanuel's 19 steals.
Graduate student Lena Negri (Arlington, Va.) made her return to the lineup after missing all of last season with an injury and picked up 10 points, four rebounds, an assist, and a steal in 14 minutes of play.
The Seahawks were carried by senior Meaghan Harden (Sandwich, Mass.) and freshman Tara Burke (Londonderry, N.H.), who each scored in double-figures and had near-double-doubles. Harden played 35 minutes and scored 12 points, while adding six rebounds. Burke came off the bench to contribute 10 points and eight boards in just 16 minutes of play.
The Saints shot 41 percent from the floor (32-78), despite going 17.6 percent from beyond the arc (3-17). The Seahawks only mustered a 31.9 percent effort from the field and were 0-10 from three-point range.
Sophomore transfer Alisha Fox, and freshmen Taylor VanLandschoot, Olivia Dalphonse, Maddie McLaughlin, Christine Miller,Talia Roth, and Mary McCarthy all made their Saints debuts in the win.