Women's Basketball: Norwich Unable to Convert Early Lead into Victory in GNAC Opener

Photo by: Mark Collier
Photo by: Mark Collier

STANDISH, Maine – The Norwich University women's basketball team held a four-point halftime lead against Saint Joseph's College but was unable to close out the game in a 62-35 loss, in what was the 2020 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's basketball opener for both programs at the Harold Alfond Center on Saturday afternoon. 

Norwich (3-9, 0-1 GNAC) battled back and forth with Saint Joseph's (8-6, 1-0 GNAC) through the majority of the first quarter exchanging the lead five times before the Cadets strung together five-straight points to close out the period and take a 14-8 lead into the second stanza. Junior guard Riley Bennett (Hopkinton, N.H.) was perfect from the field leading the team with seven points. 

The visitors were able to maintain their lead through to halftime despite posting a sub 20 percent mark from the field. Fortunately, the team's defense was top notch limiting the Monks to just 16.7 percent from the floor. Senior forward KristieAnn DeSilvio (Chelmsford, Mass.) paced the team with her three made free throws helping the Cadets to a 22-18 lead at the break. 

The Cadets increased their lead to 24-19 early in the third quarter, but were unable to solve the Monks' full-court press and consequently saw their lead evaporate. Thanks in large part to the effective press, Saint Joseph's mounted a 29-3 run spanning eight minutes and established a 48-27 cushion with 8:05 remaining. 

The Cadets' struggles from the field in the second half led them to shoot just 24 percent from the floor for the game.

Bennett led the Cadets with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting while adding four rebounds. Junior guard Julia Vigorito (Malden, Mass.) tallied eight points and five rebounds, including four on the offensive glass while junior forward Kailynne Frederick (Adams, Mass.) hauled in a game-high 11 boards. Freshman guard Alexis Matte (Lebanon, N.H.) led all bench players with three points. 

Norwich will continue its GNAC slate of games on Tuesday evening when it hosts Lasell at 6:30 p.m.