Kirwan
EC

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Senior guard Meghan Kirwan contributed 17 points, nine steals, seven assists and six rebounds as Emmanuel College defeated Hartwick 68-61 in NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament first-round action played at The Murray Center on the campus of Rhode Island College on Friday evening.

In addition to Kirwan, junior forward Fiona O’Dwyer led all scorers with 24 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Kirwan was the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Player of the Year and joined O’Dwyer on the All-GNAC First Team.

Hartwick held the early advantage, opening up a 10-4 lead with 15:43 left in the first half on a layup by sophomore guard Maria Foglia. Emmanuel bounced back with four consecutive points to pull within a bucket, but the Saints rattled off 12 in a row to hold a commanding 23-10 lead with 10:45 remaining. The run was paced by five points from sophomore guard Kate Purcell and capped with a 3-pointer by freshman forward Carlee Hirt.

However, Emmanuel responded with 14 unanswered points to take its first lead 24-23 at 5:05. O’Dwyer scored nine, while Kirwan contributed five points, to account for the Saints’ offense.

The Saints and Hawks traded the lead before Foglia drained a jumper to tie the game 31-31 right before the halftime buzzer. EC shot 39 percent (14-for-36) from the field, while ‘Wick shot 44 percent (12-for-27). Emmanuel capitalized on 14 Hawk turnovers, made seven steals and held a slight advantage, 23-22, in rebounding over the first 20 minutes.

The second half proved to be a slugfest through the first eight minutes as neither team was able to build a sizeable advantage. Foglia cashed in a layup at 12:11 to give what proved to be Hartwick’s final lead 41-40 at 12:11.

Emmanuel got on a roll with eight consecutive points as O’Dwyer scored four, while sophomore forward Liz Daley and classmate center Victoria Johnson pitched in with two apiece.

Back-to-back layups by Kirwan staked the Saints to a nine-point, 54-45, lead with 6:10 remaining as Hartwick would not get any closer than seven points for the remainder of the ballgame.

Emmanuel shot 50 percent (13-for-26) from the field in the second half and finished up at 44 percent (27-for-62). Hartwick shot 40 percent (12-for-30) over the final 20 minutes and 42 percent (24-for-57) for the game.

Hartwick turned the ball over 26 times, while EC committed 17 miscues. The Hawks held the advantage in rebounding by one, 40-39.

Saints junior forward Laura Benvenuto chipped in with 11 points, while freshman forward Lena Negri snared a team-high eight rebounds.

Foglia scored 18 and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in a losing effort for the Hawks. Sophomore guard Lee Arduini contributed 10 points.