WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Junior guard Carlee Putnam (Niantic, Conn.) scored a career-high 33 points to lead the University of Saint Joseph basketball team to its first victory of the season in a 77-50 win over Elms Tuesday in a non-conference game at the O'Connell Center.
USJ improved to 1-10 overall; Elms is 5-4.
Putnam made 12 of 23 shots from the floor, including 5 of 9 on three-pointers and went 4-for-5 at the line. She also had eight rebounds, four steals, three blocked shots and three assists.
USJ never trailed and led 26-7 after one quarter, 49-23 at halftime and 60-42 through three. Rajeen Mayo (Middletown, Conn.) had her first career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Kayla Guest (Newington, Conn.) had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Blue Jays.
USJ led by as many as 28 points in the third quarter, but Elms battled back to get within 60-45 on a free throw from Maira Pantoya (East Windsor, Conn.) with 8:15 left in the game. USJ then went on a nine-point run, capped by a Putnam layup with 5:15 remaining to put the Blue Jays back in control for the final minutes.
"It was a really great team effort," USJ coach Jack Casey said. "The effort and focus had been consistent all the way through, even though we weren't winning. I think we've grown from those first 10 games and this is a nice way to go into conference play."
J.C. Pickett (Chicopee, Mass.) led Elms with 14 points and seven rebounds and Mariah Brown (Windsor Locks, Conn.) scored 11 for the Blazers. USJ shot 38.9 percent (28-for-72) from the floor to 27.6 percent (16-for-58) for Elms and the Blue Jays also shot better at the line, 15-for-20 (75 percent) to 18-for-34 (52.9 percent) for the Blazers.
USJ plays at Rivier, Sat. Jan. 9 at 1 p.m. in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference opener for both teams. Elms is at Bridgewater State, Thursday at 7 p.m.