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GNAC Playoffs: Women’s Basketball Season Comes to an End

BOSTON – In the GNAC semifinals, the finish came down to the wire. Suffolk senior Tori Brillaud’s shot at the buzzer hit the rim and bounced out and the Rams fell to top-seeded Emmanuel College, 66-65.

Down 65-61 with a minute remaining, the Rams scraped back and tied it with 30 seconds left on senior Iliana Quadri’s jumper.

After the Saints couldn’t cleanly inbound the ball, they were pinned in their own defensive end. The Rams stole the ball, but the Saints got it right back. The ball sprung loose, and players from both sides dove for the ball on the ground.

With five seconds left, the whistle blew. The referees called a foul on the Rams, which sent Emmanuel’s Sarah Higgins to the line.

Higgins buried her first shot and the home crowd jumped up and screamed. Higgins missed her second shot, the Rams cleanly got the rebound and set up Brillaud, who was sprinting past the scorer’s table.

She had just crossed half court when the clock struck :01. She heaved the ball in stride toward the net, only to see her shot clang off the right side of the rim and bounce away.

“We fought like hell… and we finished second,” said head coach Ed Leyden. “This was a team that had genuine affection for each other, and I think that you could see that they didn’t want this season to end, and they really fought. They really did.”

For the Rams, they led, 35-33, at the half, and dominated play early in the second half, maintaining a lead for 15:23. At one point, they even held a 43-36 advantage after senior Shelby Santini buried a three from the corner.

The Rams’ 1-3-1 defense kept Emmanuel to the outside in the first; the Saints could not get clean shots from anywhere. But late in the second, despite pressure defense, the Saints were getting to loose balls.

Jen Chalk, the Saints’ 5-11 forward, came off the bench to score eight of her 12 points on layups.

Despite Iliana Quadri (16 points), Shelby Santini (15 points), and Alessandra Quadri (12 points) leading the Rams, Suffolk could not find a substantial answer to Emmanuel with under five minutes remaining.

The Rams finish their season 13-14 overall, 8-4 in conference.

The Saints advance to the GNAC Final, where they’ll play third-seeded Johnson & Wales (R.I.). For the Saints, they’ll be playing for their eighth straight GNAC Championship.

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