Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Saint Joseph's Women's Basketball Earns 700th Win En Route to Hawk Classic Title

Saint Joseph's Women's Basketball Earns 700th Win En Route to Hawk Classic Title

Saint Joseph's Women's Basketball Earns 700th Win En Route to Hawk Classic Title

Saint Joseph's Women's Basketball Earns 700th Win En Route to Hawk Classic Title

PHILADELPHIA – It was two victories in one for the Saint Joseph’s women’s basketball team as it earned both the 20th Annual Hawk Classic title and the program’s 700th victory. The Hawks got a combined 39 points from Hawk Classic MVP Katie Kuester (Media, Pa./Academy of Notre Dame de Namur) and All-Tournament Team honoree Ilze Gotfirda (Dobele, Latvia/Rigas Secondary School No. 49) as they topped Lafayette, 75-40, Wednesday afternoon at Hagan Arena.

Saint Joseph’s, which is just the 31st team in NCAA Division I history to hit the 700-win plateau, took control of the game early and never let up. Kuester went 4-of-4 from the floor, including a pair of three pointers, while Gotfrida scored 12 of her game-high 20 points in the first half as the Hawks took a 30-20 lead into halftime.

In the second half, little could halt the Hawks’ offense, as they finished 18-of-29 from the floor (62.1 percent) and 7-of-14 from behind the arc in the final 20 minutes. Lafayette cut it to a 32-24 game less than two minutes in, but SJU’s offense clicked from there, outscoring the Leopards 28-6 over the next 14 minutes. A three-pointer by sophomore Mireia Vila (Cabrera De Mar, Spain/Escola Pia Santa Anna) and back-to-back baskets by Gotfrida opened the Hawks’ biggest lead, 70-32 with 4:31 left.

Kuester, who started 7-of-7 from the field and finished 7-of-9, scored a career-best 19 points to go with a team-high 14 points in Tuesday’s win over New Hampshire to earn MVP honors. Playing a season-high 29 minutes, Gotfrida was an offensive force for SJU, scoring a career-high 20 points and adding five rebounds, three steals, an assist and a block. Vila was the third SJU player in double figures, scoring a career-best 11, while 8 of 10 Hawks scored a basket.

For Lafayette (6-7), All-Tournament Team selection LaKeisha Wright scored a team-high 14 points, while teammate and All-Tournament Team honoree Danielle Fiacco scored eight points and had seven rebounds. Fiacco set a Hawk Classic record on Tuesday with 12 blocked shots against Quinnipiac.

As a team, the Leopards shot just 30.4 percent from the field (14-of-46) and were held to 24 percent (6-of-25) in the second half.

In the consolation game, Quinnipiac topped New Hampshire, 62-61 on a free throw by Lailah Pratt with 2.4 seconds remaining. The Bobcats’ Jacinda Dunbar and New Hampshire’s Jill McDonald rounded out the All-Tournament Team.

With the win, Saint Joseph’s improves to 10-3 on the year and 700-363 all-time. The Hawks will put their seven-game winning streak on the line Sunday against nationally-ranked Maryland at home at 2 p.m.

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