BEVERLY, Mass. - The fourth-seeded Endicott women's basketball team will square off against top-seeded Keene St. on Saturday, March 5 at 1:00 p.m. in the 2016 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Women's Basketball Semifinals held on the campus of Western New England University in Springfield, Mass.
Endicott (17-11) is coming off of a 92-56 win over fifth-seeded Elms (15-13) in the first round on Wednesday, March 2, in Beverly, Mass., while Keene St. (22-5) suffered a 51-39 setback to UMass Boston in the Little East Conference (LEC) Semifinals on Friday, Feb. 26 in Willimantic, Conn.
PREVIOUS MATCHUPS: Endicott is 1-5 all-time against Keene St. dating back prior to the 2002 season. In a meeting earlier this season, Endicott fell, 60-56, to Keene St. in the Gulls' home opener on Nov. 24, 2015.
ENDICOTT GULLS: 17-11 |ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS: The Gulls are making their 11th overall appearance in the ECAC tournament in program history, sixth in the ECAC Semifinals, and first since the team celebrated its first ECAC Championship in 2014 with a 79-76 win over Smith College on March 9, 2014. The Gulls put a 66-55 loss to the University of New England in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Semifinals on February 25 behind them with Wednesday's 92-56 home finale against fifth-seeded Elms in the ECAC First Round as five Gulls scored in double figures and the team registered its second-highest scoring total of the season.
Endicott is led in scoring by All-CCC First Team senior guard Kelsey Cuddy (Madison, Conn.), All-CCC Second Team sophomore forward Hannah Shaw (Bar Harbor, Maine) and sophomore guard Hannah Kiernan (Wenham, Mass.). This season, Cuddy became the 11th student-athlete in program history to reach the 1,000 point milestone (01/09/16), and set a new career-high with 28 points in the team's 77-62 win at Curry on 01/05/16. Shaw, the CCC Rookie of the Year one season ago, has 11 games scoring in double digits this season, while Kiernan has 12 games in double figures, including a career-high 18 points in the team's 76-43 home win versus Nichols on 01/27/16.
The Gulls are coached by Brittany Hutchinson, Northeastern '08, who in her five seasons as head coach, has compiled an 86-57 overall record (.601 winning percentage).
KEENE STATE OWLS: 22-5 | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS: The Owls, making their seventh ECAC postseason appearance (2010 ECAC Champions), won straight 11 games to open the season and are led by LEC Defensive Player of the Year in junior guard/forward Stephanie D'Annolfo (Tyngsborough, Mass.), in addition to senior guard Kelsey Cognetta (Stamford, Conn.) being named to the All-LEC First Team.
D'Annolfo became the first Keene St. women's basketball player to ever win the Defensive Player of the Year award as she averaged 2.4 steals per game and 1.0 blocks per contest. She ranked second in the LEC in steals and sixth in blocks, en route to earning her second straight year on the All-Defensive Team. Cognetta, who started every contest, averaged 9.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 79.5% from the free throw line, for third best in the LEC.
The Owls are coached by 27-year veteran head coach Keith Boucher, Plymouth St. '78, who has amassed a career record of 402-326 (.552 winning percentage). The 2016 LEC Coach of the Year led the program to a school record-tying 22 wins this season, and won his 400th career game earlier this year at Western Connecticut State, 69-61, on Feb. 13, 2016.
ABOUT THE BRACKET
This year's bracket features a field of five teams, as fourth-seeded Endicott defeated fifth-seeded Elms College, 92-56, on Wednesday, March 2 in the Gulls' final home game of the 2015-16 season to advance to the ECAC Semifinals to play top-seeded Keene State College (22-5) on Saturday, March 5 at 1:00 p.m. on the campus of Western New England University in Springfield, Mass.
The second semifinal matchup will see the No. 2 seed Western New England University (18-10) host No. 3 seed Suffolk University (17-10) on Saturday, March 5 at 3:00 p.m.
The winner of the Keene State/Endicott will take on the winner of Suffolk/Western New England for the title on Sunday, March 6 at 1:00 p.m. in Springfield, Mass.
ECAC DIVISION III NEW ENGLAND BRACKET
First Round – Wednesday, March 5 at Endicott College
#4 Endicott 92 vs. #5 Elms 56
Semifinals – Saturday, March 5 at Western New England University
Semifinal #1: No. 1 Keene State vs. No. 4 Endicott– 1:00 p.m.
Semifinal #2: No. 3 Suffolk vs. No. 2 Western New England – 3:00 p.m.
Championship – Sunday, March 6 at Western New England