St. Joseph’s College women’s basketball coach Mike McDevitt shouts out instructions to his team during a January 2018 game. This season, the Monks are off to a 12-3 start and face Emmanuel, the top team in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, on Saturday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

The St. Joseph’s College women’s basketball team has been able to play just one of four scheduled games since Jan. 15 because of COVID-related postponements.

That said, Coach Mike McDevitt feels his team has had good practices leading into Saturday’s home game against Emmanuel – a showdown between the top two teams in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.

“This time of year, you certainly would prefer to have a couple games per week, a Tuesday-Saturday or a Wednesday-Saturday,” said McDevitt, whose Monks are 12-3 overall and 6-1 in the GNAC. “But certainly this year, unlike any other, we’re all dealing with the differences some of these postponements and cancellations are making. It isn’t an ideal situation, but everybody’s in the same boat.”

Conversely, Saturday’s game will be the fourth since last Thursday for Emmanuel (14-1, 9-0 GNAC), which has won 10 consecutive games. In their first meeting on Jan. 8, Emmanuel took a 61-53 win over St. Joe’s. The Monks committed 27 turnovers, and taking care of the basketball has been a point of emphasis in preparing for the rematch. The Saints are 13th in the nation in forcing turnovers at just over 25 per game.

“They’re a really good team. They play with a lot of defensive pressure, and we didn’t handle it really well. We turned the ball over a lot more than we can against a really good opponent,” McDevitt said. “When you have 27 turnovers, that’s 27 fewer opportunities to take a shot. We’re not going to play a game with zero turnovers, but if we were to cut that in half, that’s 10 or 12 more opportunities to take a shot, and we think we’re going to score a few more points.”

Three seniors – guard Cassandra Stapelfeld and forwards Grace Philippon and Kaleigh Walsh – lead the Monks. Stapelfeld is fourth in scoring in the GNAC at 17.1 points per game.

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THE UNIVERSITY OF New England men’s hockey team got back on the ice last weekend after COVID cancellations and postponements kept the Nor’easters from playing a game since Dec. 11. Ranked No. 12 in Division III in the last USCHO.com poll, UNE (9-2-1) split a pair of games last weekend, falling 6-2 to No. 10 Curry and beating Salve Regina, 3-2.

Now UNE has three games in four days on the schedule. The Nor’easters will play Friday at Wentworth before hosting Wentworth on Saturday. On Monday, UNE will host Salve Regina.

Senior Daniel Winslow leads the Nor’easters with nine goals and six assists for 15 points, good for fourth in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Bill Girard ranks third in the conference in save percentage (.927) and fourth in goals-against average (2.14).

Four of UNE’s games scheduled between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15 were canceled, including the two games in Norwich’s Northfield Savings Bank tournament, in which UNE was set to play Williams on New Year’s Day and either Norwich or Hamilton the following day. Also canceled were a Jan. 6 game at Connecticut College and a Jan. 15 game at home against Albertus Magnus. A Jan. 11 game against Colby was postponed and has yet to be rescheduled.

THE MAINE men’s basketball team earned its first America East conference win Monday, beating New Hampshire 71-64. The victory also was the Black Bears’ first over a Division I opponent since defeating New Jersey Institute of Technology on Jan. 10 of last year. Maine’s 2020-21 season ended after nine games because of issues with COVID-19.

Young players are beginning to contribute. On Jan. 17, freshman guard Sam Ihekwoaba of Orlando, Florida, was named America East Rookie of the Week for the third consecutive week and fourth time this season after scoring 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting in a 73-65 loss to Binghamton.

Ihekwoaba’s run as the league’s Rookie of the Week was snapped this week by his teammate, forward Kristians Feierbergs. A native of Riga, Latvia, Feierbergs scored 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting in a 71-62 loss to UMass Lowell on Jan. 19.

Neither Feierbergs nor Ihekwoaba factored much into the win over UNH. Each scored two points. Sophomore guard Vukasin Masic and junior guard Maks Klanjscek scored 25 points apiece. The backcourt duo made 10 of 15 3-pointers, helping Maine sink 14 from behind the arc. The 14 3-pointers matched Maine’s combined total for its previous three games.


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