Johannah Leedham & Jewel White named to All-Tournament Team


RINDGE, N.H. (March 7, 2010) – The second-ranked Franklin Pierce University women’s basketball team won the 2010 Northeast-10 Championship on Sunday afternoon over Stonehill by a count of 70-59 in The Fieldhouse in Rindge. With the win, Franklin Pierce (28-1) claimed a sweep of the 2010 Northeast-10 titles as it won both the regular season and tournament crowns. It marked the second-consecutive season the Ravens accomplished the feat.

Senior standout and 2010 Northeast-10 Player of the Year Johannah Leedham (Ellesmere Port, England) and sophomore center Jewel White (Worcester, Mass.) turned in outstanding performances on the afternoon to lead the Ravens to victory. Leedham pumped in 31 points to move into the top-10 all-time in NCAA women’s basketball history (Divisions I, II & III) for career scoring with 2,927 points. She also had seven rebounds and two steals to go along with her point total. Her two steals moved her into a tie for eighth place in NCAA Division II history for career thefts with 444.

However, the most spectacular performance of the afternoon came from White, who tossed in 15 points and ripped down a game-high 23 rebounds (11 offensive, 12 defensive). Her total was just two shy of the tournament record. White also had three assists, two steals and one block. It marked the second-straight game she logged a double-double, which ironically, came in her first two career starts. White’s rebounding helped the Ravens own a 46-30 edge on the glass.

Both players were honored by the Northeast-10 following the game as they were named to the All-Tournament Team. Leedham was named the Most Valuable Player for the tournament as she averaged over 30 points a game.

Junior guard Cynthia Gaudet (Coventry, R.I.) was the other Raven to score in double-figures on the afternoon as she added 10 points. She also dished out a game-high seven assists, while swiping two steals.

Stonehill, which fell to 23-9, had three players score in double-figures, including Kelsey Simonds (17 points), Emily Rousseau (14 points) and Kristen McWhirter (12 points).

The Skyhawks came out firing in the first half and shot 54 percent (15-of-28) from the floor, including 57 percent (4-of-7) from behind the arc, in building a 37-35 lead at halftime.

Rousseau had a dozen points in the opening 20 minutes, while Simonds added 11.

Franklin Pierce kept it close in the opening half by forcing Stonehill into 10 turnovers and scoring 12 points off of those. The Ravens shot a solid 43 percent (13-of-30) from the field and got 14 points from Leedham. White just barely missed a double-double in the first half as she had nine points and nine boards.

The early stages of the second half took on the same routine as the first half as both teams swapped baskets early on.

Gaudet put the Ravens up 50-47 with 10:15 left in the game after she was fouled shooting a three and followed by making all three foul shots. However, the Skyhawks responded on the next possession by getting a three-point play from Tania Williams to knot the score at 50.

After a pair of Leedham free throws at the other end, Williams came right back for Stonehill and tied it at 52-52 with a driving layup.

After that basket, Franklin Pierce picked up its pace of play at both ends of the court. White grabbed an offensive board and kicked it out to freshman guard Amanda Saab (Windham, N.H.), who drained a triple from the top of the key to put the Ravens up 55-52.

McWhirter hit a baseline jumper at the other end to pull Stonehill within one with 8:15 remaining, but the Skyhawks would go cold for the next seven minutes as they would not score another point during that time.

While Stonehill struggled offensively, thanks in large part to solid defensive play from Saab, Leedham, Gaudet and White, Franklin Pierce kept getting to the basket for layups or to the line for free throws. Leedham sandwiched a pair of free throws around a White layup and the Ravens opened up at the time the largest lead of the game at 61-54 with 4:52 left to go.

Stonehill was forced to foul late in the game with the lead slowly extending into double-digits. Leedham, Gaudet, White and freshman guard Jordan Grant (Concord, N.H.) each hit free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach and seal the win and championship for Franklin Pierce.

Saab finished with five points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and a block. Classmate Tiffany Johnson (St. Albans, Vt.) threw in six points to aid the cause for Franklin Pierce.

In all, the lead changed hands eight times and the score was tied 10 other times, which highlighted the fact that both teams battled hard for the league’s title.

The win was the 28th of the season for Franklin Pierce as the 2009-10 edition of the Ravens moved into second place in program history for the most wins in a single season. This year’s team only trails last season’s squad, which produced 29 wins on the way to an appearance in the NCAA Division II National Championship Game.

The win also gave Franklin Pierce the Northeast-10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which will begin next weekend in the East Regional. The Ravens will await word of their first-round opponent, which will be announced later this evening on the Tournament’s Selection Show at 9:30 p.m. on www.NCAA.com(.)

For more information on Franklin Pierce women’s basketball, and on its upcoming games in the NCAA Division II Tournament, please visit the team’s page at athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.)