PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/17/2017 – The season came to an end for the Saint Joseph’s Hawks women’s basketball team as they battled the Virginia Cavaliers to the wire, but fall 62 – 56 at the Hagan Arena in the first round of the WNIT. Jocelyn Willoughby, who scored a game-high 25 points, broke a 53-all tie with a layup, then iced it for the Cavaliers with a traditional three-point play with 22 seconds to play.
“We competed for forty minutes,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “It came down to a couple plays at the end. We weren’t able to close out the game, but I am very proud of our season.”
Virginia took a 40 – 29 lead with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. Saint Joseph’s would fight back with an 18 – 5 run to take the lead on a Chelsea Woods jumper at the 7:55 mark of the fourth quarter. The game went into back and forth mode. Kristalyn Baisden nailed a three-pointer giving the Hawks a 50 – 47 lead at the 7:03 mark.
Virginia battled back to grab a 51 – 50 advantage on a shot from beyond the arc by J’Kyra Brown with just over four minutes left. The game would be tied two more times, but Saint Joe’s could not get a lead again.
Sarah Veilleaux lead SJU with a team-high 15 points, and she took down 7 boards. Woods added 12 points and 9 rebounds. The Hawks played without point guard Alyssa Monaghan due to injury.
Willoughby also lead UVA in rebounds with 7. Brown contributed 14 points, and Breyana Mason added 10 points.
Saint Joseph’s ends the season at 17 – 15. This team was 3 – 11 in early January, then would lose only three more times until tonight. They soared to the third spot in the Atlantic 10 Conference before losing in the tournament semifinal round. The team did not want the season to end.
“I am very proud of the season that we had, and we had challenges at the beginning,” Griffin said. “I told the team that we would not be the team that we are if we didn’t have to go through those struggles.”
“This team loves basketball, being around each other, and it was one of the most enjoyable years that I’ve had in coaching.”
The experience of this season can act as a foundation for which the Hawks can build upon next year.
“I think it was very important for this team to experience post-season, to understand that we play in March, and this is what Saint Joe’s basketball is all about.” Griffin said. “I was proud of them for getting into the post-season and competing the way we did today.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian