Monks duo overcomes women's basketball in 77-66 home loss

Nina Davenport scored 27 points, including 20 in the second half, in Bates' 77-66 loss to Saint Joseph's (Me.) on Jan. 2, 2018. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Kelsi McNamara scored 28 points and Emily Benway added 23 as Saint Joseph's rode a big second quarter to a 77-66 non-conference victory over the Bates women's basketball team Tuesday night in Alumni Gymnasium.

The Monks (9-1) won their eighth game in a row and haven't lost since Nov. 17. They outrebounded the host Bobcats 44-36 and overcame a 16-9 deficit in turnovers. Bates (5-7) suffered its first loss in four games.

Nina Davenport tied a career-high with six 3-pointers, finishing with a team-high 27 points to go with five rebounds and three blocked shots. Davenport poured in 20 of her points after halftime. Melanie Binkhorst added 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Lexie Nason scored six points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds off the bench.

McNamara shot 11-for-11 from the free-throw line, part of a parade to the line for the Monks, who made 23-of-27 from the stripe as a team (.852). McNamara also blocked three shots. Benway shot 11-for-13 from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds in a productive 21 minutes of action, while Julia Champagne submitted a big all-around performance with seven points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Hannah Marks contributed eight points, six rebounds and two blocks.

The teams played to a virtual standstill through the first quarter, with Bates taking a 16-15 lead on the strength of a 9-2 run over the final 5:17 of the period. Davenport scored five points in that stretch, Binkhorst made a jumper and Christofi hit a layup with 0.7 seconds left in the period for the lead.

But St. Joe's exploded for 26 points in the second quarter while Bates went cold. St. Joe's shot 9-of-17 from the field in the second quarter, including 2-of-4 from long distance, and made 4-of-4 free throws. Meanwhile the Bobcats missed 11 of their 13 shots from the floor (.154), including several layups and all four attempts from beyond the arc.

McNamara opened the quarter with a three-point play, and a Benway putback made it 20-16 in St. Joe's favor. After a layup by Davenport, St. Joe's embarked on a 17-4 run, making five shots in a row from the floor, including a pair of threes by Marks and another three by Julia Quinn. McNamara drained a three with less than two seconds remaining in the half for a 41-25 Monks lead at the break, giving her eight points in the quarter.

Henshaw and Davenport sandwiched 3-pointers around a Benway layup to open the third quarter, quickly cutting the lead to 12. Henshaw assisted on two more Davenport threes in the third minute of the period, making it an eight-point game at 45-37 with 7:16 to go, but the Monks quickly answered with seven straight points, including a McNamara three for a 52-37 lead.

Binkhorst fed Emily Freedland for another Bates three to make it 52-40, then grabbed a rebound and whipped a long pass to Julia Middlebrook for a layup, reducing the deficit to single digits at 53-44. Champagne answeree by assisted Benway for a layup, but Binkhorst's layup with 45 seconds to go in the third made it 55-46 after three periods. Davenport scored nine points in the third quarter, making 3-of-4 shots from long distance.

St. Joe's got three-point plays from both Benway and McNamara to open the fourth quarter, countering a jumper by Davenport to expand the lead to 61-48. Bates responded with a 7-0 run, capped by a Davenport three, making it a six-point game with 5:13 to go.

Another McNamara three-point play put the Monks ahead 66-58 with 3:38 to go, but Davenport made it a game again, knocking down a long two and her sixth 3-pointer of the game, drawing the Bobcats within five (66-61) with 2:41 left in the game. But with under a minute to go, Bates was forced to foul, and the Monks made 9-of-10 free throws over the final 42 seconds of the game to seal the victory. McNamara scored 12 points in the final quarter, shooting 8-for-8 from the line.

Bates will open NESCAC play on Friday at 7pm at No. 7 nationally ranked Bowdoin. St. Joe's will play a GNAC game at Norwich University on Saturday at 1pm.