Words by Juliana Cimino
The Emmanuel College (EC) Women’s Basketball team faced off against the non-conference Moravian Greyhounds in the Championship game of the EC Tip-Off Tournament during a home game on Sunday.
Sophomore center Shakirah Ketant (#43) described how it feels to be back on the court after not having a season her freshman year as, “Amazing honestly, because my whole life I’ve played basketball in the same time period from November until March so all of last year, not having that, felt really weird. And so being back, it just brings back a lot of good memories. I’m really excited to keep going and see how the season goes.”
Sophomore guard Olivia Matela (#5) called the experience, “Really exciting and thrilling. It definitely was a little bit different just because it’s something I haven’t myself been able to experience in a while. It was just really fun, and I’m excited that I was able to experience something like that for the first time.”
The starting lineup for the Emmanuel Saints featured senior guard Korie Mathis (#2), graduate student guard Jamad Fiin (#4), freshman forward Yannie Chan (#13), senior forward Riley Lahiff (#14), and senior forward Loren D’Agostino (#45). Mathis, Fiin, Lahiff, and D’Agostino are the Captains of the team.
Throughout the first quarter of the game, the score was even. Emmanuel went on a run and went up 16-10 with 3:20 left in the first quarter causing Moravian to take a timeout. The Saints had a 21-10 lead going into the second quarter. Chan had a three-point play in the second keeping the Saints’ momentum and energy up. At halftime, Emmanuel was up 39-23. The Saints started the third quarter on a 9-0 run, putting them up 48-23. The third quarter ended 56-38, Emmanuel.
The Saints never took their foot off the gas. They maintained their lead in the fourth quarter and won 69-50, claiming the EC Tip-Off Tournament title. The Saints advanced to 2-0 on the season so far after winning back-to-back matchups.
“It felt really good. I think we did everything that our coaches asked us to do and a little bit more, which is great. We did everything that we worked on in practice really well. The atmosphere was insane. Everyone came out and showed support which we love. Keep up that support, we love it. And it really just creates an even better environment,” said Ketant about the team’s tournament win.
“The atmosphere was just unbelievable. I don’t even know if I can explain it, it was just something else,” said Matela “For everyone to pack the gym and then just have all those eyes on us definitely created this big expectation, but at the same time, we knew what we were capable of so we just played how we usually play.”
The great atmosphere contributed to a convincing team win, led by D’Agostino and Chan. D’Agostino recorded a double-double, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Chan played a great game as well and had 12 points along with 7 rebounds.
Fiin and Lahiff were named to the All-Tournament Team. After the stellar performance D’Agostino put on this weekend, she was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament.
Some standout statistics are that Emmanuel had 38 points in the paint compared to Moravian’s 8. Also, the Saints had 10 fastbreak points when Moravian had 0.
Ketant’s predictions for this season are, “I think we’re going to do great just because I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team this talented before, so it’s really exciting to see. It’s insane just watching us during practice. I just don’t see anyone really as great as us.”
Matela added, “I think that our team has a lot of potential, so I think that we’ll get pretty far to be honest. We have a lot of numbers, and everyone contributes to the team in their own way, so I’m excited to see where things go and where it can lead us.”
As for goals, Matela said the team is striving to, “Make it to the GNAC and even beyond that and hopefully get to the Final Four and relive the same experience of the 2001 team.”
Emmanuel’s next home game is on Thursday, November 18th against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Engineers at 7:00PM.
An earlier version of this article stated the MIT mascot was the Beavers and has since been changed to the correct name, the Engineers.