CONWAY — The Monks of St. Joseph's of Standish, Maine (28-2), fashioned a 27-game winning streak to begin their march to the NCAA women's Division III tournament with two former Fryeburg Academy Raiders — junior guard Julia Quinn and junior forward Lexi L'Heureux-Carland — playing important roles. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Mackenzie Buzzell led the Colby-Sawyer Chargers to a 14-12 record in the Great North Atlantic Conference.
For the Monks, the GNAC champion's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament was lost in heartbreaking fashion in the conference tournament final, when second seeded Emmanuel College pulled off a 65-64 upset to take the title on Feb. 23 in Standish. Fortunately, the tournament committee recognized the tremendous achievement of the Monks and awarded an at-large bid which sent 14th ranked nationally St. Joseph's to Ithaca, N.Y. to open its March Madness.
On March 1, St. Joseph's held the lead at each quarter break en route to a 68-61 win over MIT (21-7), to advance to the round of 32. Quinn hit a key three-pointer with 5:27 to play to give the Monks a 58-54 lead. She finished with 5 points in 23 minutes of play.
The Monks followed their first round victory with a March 2 matchup on the home court of the Ithaca Bombers (24-5). Ithaca jumped to a 23-13 lead after the first quarter, extended the advantage to 50-29 at the half, and were able to hold off the Monks second half runs to secure a 74-63 victory. Quinn had another solid performance, scoring 9 points in 27 minutes of play.
L'Heureux-Carland was the first forward off the bench through most of the season for the veteran roster of Monks, and averaged 1.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 8.6 minutes per game. Impressively, most of L'Heureux-Carland's rebounds came off the offensive boards.
For Quinn, her season statistics included an average of 17 minutes and 4.6 points per game. Two thirds of her points came from the three-point arch, as she combined ball-handling duties with stretching defenses as a long ball shooter.
Moving ahead to 2019-2020, both former Raiders are likely to see significant increases in their final collegiate season. The 2018-2019 starting lineup was packed with four seniors and three all-Conference honorees.
In New Londo, Buzzell, an exercise science major, saw plenty of court time for Colby-Sawyer, averaging 35 minutes and 7.1 points per game.
The No. 7 seeded Chargers season ended in the GNAC quarterfinals with a 61-39 defeat at No. 2 Emmanuel College (21-5), who went on to upset St. Joseph's to earn an NCAA bid. Buzzell filled the scoresheet in that game with 10 points in 39 minutes of play.
In 2019-2020, the Chargers will return seven of the top eight players in their rotation, including all five regular starters. Next season could see some very competitive games between the Monks and the Chargers, and a high likelihood that shooting guards Quinn and Buzzell may square off directly against each other. For the ex-Raiders now thriving in GNAC competition, even greater roles await L'Heureux-Carland, Quinn and Buzzell next season.