SJC's Kelsi McNamara Named GNAC Women's Basketball Player of the Year


WINTHROP, Mass. – Saint Joseph’s College of Maine sophomore guard Kelsi McNamara has been named the 2017 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, as voted upon by the league’s head coaches.

Last year’s GNAC Rookie of the Year, McNamara took a giant leap in her second year, averaging 16.0 points and a league-high 4.8 assists per game to lead the Monks to their second straight GNAC Championship. Entering NCAA Tournament play, she is first among league leaders in threes made (76) and fourth in three-point percentage (.369).

McNamara also excelled in the GNAC Tournament, averaging 24.3 points, 5.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds to garner Tournament MVP honors. She helped lead SJC to back-to-back overtime wins in the semifinals against Johnson & Wales University and in the title game against Emmanuel College.

Monks head coach Mike McDevitt was voted the GNAC Coach of the Year by his peers after leading SJC to its third conference crown in four years. McDevitt recorded his 500th career victory on Saturday with the Monks’ championship victory over the Saints.

Joining McNamara on the All-GNAC First Team were Albertus Magnus College junior Olivia Bolden, JWU juniors Raquel Pederzani and Ashley Thompson, and Norwich University senior Heather LeBlanc.

Bolden led the GNAC in both scoring (20.4 ppg) and rebounding (12.6 rpg) for the Falcons, while shooting 49.9 percent on the season. From JWU, Pederzani averaged 14.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists, while Thompson was third in the GNAC with 17.5 points per game to go with 6.5 rebounds. LeBlanc had a stellar senior season for the Cadets, as she was second in the conference in points per game (17.9), third in rebounding (10.3) and second in field-goal percentage (.588).

Suffolk University freshman Alexis Hackett was unanimously named the GNAC Rookie of the Year. The first-year standout averaged 8.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in just 21.4 minutes per contest.

Rivier University senior Savanna Butterfield was voted the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, as the Second Team selection averaged 11.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals for the Raiders. She also led the GNAC with 2.8 blocks per contest.

Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 12 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 17 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement. 

First Team
Olivia Bolden, Albertus Magnus (Jr., South Windsor, Conn.)
Raquel Pederzani, Johnson & Wales (Jr., Coventry, R.I.)
Ashley Thompson, Johnson & Wales (Jr. Bellingham, Mass.)
Heather LeBlanc, Norwich (Sr., Sanford, Maine)
Kelsi McNamara, Saint Joseph’s of Maine (So., West Newbury, Mass.)

Second Team
Liz Falcigno, Albertus Magnus (Sr., Wallingford, Conn.)
Jen Chalk, Emmanuel (Sr., Horseheads, N.Y.)
Savanna Butterfield, Rivier (Sr., Londonderry, N.H.)
Caitlyn Perry, Rivier (Sr., Nashua, N.H.)
Emily Benway, Saint Joseph’s of Maine (So., Rochester, N.H.)

Third Team
Alexis Ezell, Emmanuel (Sr., Acworth, Ga.)
Alisha Fox, Emmanuel Jr., (National Park, N.J.)
Angelique Martinez, Mount Ida (Sr., Taunton, Mass.)
Georgia Bourikas, Suffolk (Sr., Hull, Mass.)
Kelsey Schiebel, Suffolk (Sr., Windham, N.H.)

Player of the Year – Kelsi McNamara, Saint Joseph’s of Maine
Defensive Player of the Year – Savanna Butterfield, Rivier
Rookie of the Year – Alexis Hackett, Suffolk
Coach of the Year – Mike McDevitt, Saint Joseph’s of Maine
Institutional Sportsmanship Award – Suffolk University

All-Sportsmanship Team
Megan Thornton, Albertus Magnus (Sr., Worcester, Mass.)
Kayla Odegaard, Anna Maria (Jr., Milton, Mass.)
Sasha Puglisi, Emmanuel (Jr., Cross River, N.Y.)
Kimberly Viafara, Johnson & Wales (Sr., Woodside, N.Y.)
Jaime Caron, Lasell (So., Derry, N.H.)
Angelique Martinez, Mount Ida (Sr., Taunton, Mass.)
Jenna Alexander, Norwich (So., Castleton, Vt.)
Kayla Davis, Rivier (Sr., Wareham, Mass.)
Abbie Eastman, Saint Joseph’s of Maine (Sr., Norway, Maine)
Rajeen Mayo, St. Joseph (Conn.) (Jr., Middletown, Conn.)
Kelsey Heavener, Simmons (Sr., Stafford Springs, Conn.)
Alexandra Clarke, Suffolk (Sr., Boothbay Harbor, Maine)