Melendez, Wilson, Banker, Ward, Tabakman
Saint Joseph's Starters
Andrews, Monahan, Fitzpatrick, Woods, Fairbanks
How It Happened
Rhode Island held off Saint Joseph's down the stretch to notch an 81-76 victory and advance to the Atlantic 10 Championship Quarterfinals Thursday night.
With its highest scoring output of the season, the 10th-seeded Rams (12-17) used a balanced offense to build a 15-point over No. 7 Saint Joseph's early in the fourth quarter. A pair of free throws by Charise Wilson put Rhody up 65-50 with 8:55 to go.
Saint Joseph's (14-15) – which beat Rhode Island by 11 points just two weeks ago – rallied down the stretch and pulled within two points at 78-76 following a three-point play by Ciara Andrews with 22 seconds to go. Wilson made one free throw with 18 seconds to go to make it a three-point Ram lead. Saint Joseph's missed a 3-point attempt, and Dominique Ward pulled down the defensive rebound, then sank a pair of free throws to ice the game and move Rhode Island to the next round.
Inside the Box Score
- With her second 3-pointer of the game, senior Tayra Melendez became the 20th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. She finished the night with 15 points and is now 17th in team history with 1,010 points.
- Melendez – who made the 100th start of her career Thursday – became the second player in team history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocked shots. The only other one was URI Hall of Famer and A-10 Legend Naomi Graves (1978-82).
- Charise Wilson scored a game-high 24 points and matched her career-high with eight assists. Wilson needs 19 points to join Melendez in the 1,000-point club. She has scored 497 points this year, the sixth most for one year in team history.
- Wilson now has 119 assists this season, which ties her with Denise King (2003-04) for the eighth highest single-season total in team history. Her final assist of the night was the 200th of her career.
- Samantha Tabakman recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. She now has 629 rebounds, passing Val Gorman (1985-89) for eighth place in team history.
- Dominique Ward gave the Rams a fourth player in double figures, scoring 12 points. She added seven rebounds and was 5-for-6 at the free throw line, including two huge free throws with nine seconds to go to ice the victory.
- Symone Bullard scored eight points and had two assists in 17 minutes off the bench.
- In the first meeting with Saint Joseph's, Hawks guard Kathleen Fitzpatrick scored 26 points and made eight 3-pointers. She was held scoreless and was 0-for-5 from 3-point range Tuesday.
- Rhode Island committed just eight turnovers in the game, turning it over four times in each half.
- The Rams made 10 3-pointers, marking the fourth time this season they have made at least 10. Rhody now has a team-record 201 makes on the season.
Stat of the Game
1 – Rhode Island has now won one game at the Atlantic 10 Championship in back-to-back seasons. Rhody has not won postseason games in consecutive seasons since doing so in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Rhode Island will face No. 2 Saint Louis in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship Friday at 4:30 p.m.
The game will be available online via the Atlantic 10 Network and also will be broadcast by the American Sports Network (complete listings of stations carrying the game).