My thoughts on last night's game--
Emmanuel had probably the best ball control of an NCAA tournament game that the Saints had ever played. Usually, the Emmanuel system doesn't mind if the Saints turn the ball over 20 times, as long as the opponent turns it over 35 times. However, in the game vs Rochester, Emmanuel only turned the ball over 9 times. Usually, that is enough to win an NCAA tournament game and advance to the next round, but last night, the result did not come.
Although the result last night was not what Emmanuel had hoped for, the game itself could not have been any better played. I was very proud of the effort and passion of both Emmanuel and Rochester in playing this contest. It was unfortunate that the NCAA bean-counters and women's selection committee had to schedule this game as a first round match, but the insistence on not scheduling a lot of plane flights to make a more competitive bracket in DIII means that games normally that should wait for later in the tournament have to be played early under geographic proximity and regional ranking results.
Emmanuel's game plan was the game plan I wanted the Saints to execute. Emmanuel did a good job holding the star sophomore players Ally Zywicki and Breanna Madrazo in check. I knew that Rochester's #42 Loren Wagner was a great player, and normally Loren Wagner is not thought of as a 20+ ppg player, but if Wagner had not played the game of her life last night, the Saints would have played Williams today in round 2. Wagner did not have a 20+ ppg game in her college career until last night. Of all of Rochester's best 7 players to take over the game in the last 5 minutes, Wagner would definitely not have been my first pick. I would have gone with the sophomores, Jackie Walker, or Amy Woods for my first 4 picks before Loren Wagner, but in the NCAAs-- anything can happen. In her 24 pt game last night, Loren Wagner of Rochester scored 11 of her team's final 13 pts in the last 5 minutes.
Emmanuel is now 2-2 vs UAA teams in the NCAA DIII tournament counting the famous 2000-2001 season.
Although Emmanuel had played Rochester twice in the past, last night's contest was the first between the two sides played in the Palestra in Rochester, NY, and the first time that Coaches Andy Yosinoff and Jim Scheible have squared off. Prior to last night, the last meeting between Emmanuel and Rochester took place in the early 1990s.
This year's Emmanuel team, had they competed in the UAA, could have gotten at least 8 wins in league play over the course of the season. Had Rochester played Emmanuel on their conference road trip to New York and Boston, I strongly believe that the Saints would have won the game in the Jean Yawkey Center by at least 20 to 25 points-- as Rochester was really tired after their OT victory at NYU on that weekend.
In other GNAC news--
Suffolk is in Castleton, VT to play their 3 PM Eastern semifinal vs Wellesley today, with the winner playing the winner of Castleton vs Westfield State tomorrow for the ECAC New England title. If the Rams win the ECAC New England title, I believe that it would be the first in their program history.
PS-- Andy Yosinoff was quoted as saying that last night's game was the best NCAA tournament game that he has ever coached and been in. This certainly was the best first round game that the Saints have ever played-- that I can agree.