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Basketball Wins Third Straight, Tops Elms 76-64

Junior Rajeen Mayo finished with a game-high 20 points and five assists.
Junior Rajeen Mayo finished with a game-high 20 points and five assists.

CHICOPEE Mass. - The University of Saint Joseph basketball team used a balanced offensive attack to win its third consecutive contest, defeating the Elms College Blazers on the road Wednesday night, 76-64, inside Picknelly Arena. With the victory the Blue Jays even their overall record at 5-5, while the Blazers fall to 4-5 with the loss.

Four Blue Jays scored in double figures on the night led by junior Rajeen Mayo (Middletown, Conn.) who posted a game-high 20 points. Mayo connected on 7-of-8 of her attempts from the floor and was a perfect 5-of-5 from the charity stripe, while also dishing out a game-high five assists in the victory.

As the first quarter of action began both teams took some time getting into a rhythm as the first minute saw back-to-back scoreless efforts. The Blazers cracked the scoreboard first as freshman Molly Moulton (North Adams, Mass.) found a bucket off the glass. USJ junior Kayla Guest (Newington, Conn.) retaliated for the Blue Jays nailing a jumper from the outside to get the Blue Jays on the board and tie the score. Back and forth action would ensue with junior Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) leading the Blazers in the quarter posting six points. Guest secured nine points for St. Joseph as they entered the second quarter holding a 20-14 advantage over the Blazers.

Elms once again produced first in the quarter with LaRochelle connecting for two five seconds into the period. From there both teams would produce back-to-back runs with the Blue Jays outscoring the Blazers by four in the quarter as they captured 22 points to Elms' 16. Sophomore Kayla Aberdale (Housatonic, Mass.) came in hot off the bench to post the first three of the contest at the 5:33 mark to keep the lead within reach for the Blazers. Marques posted six points in the paint to aid in the effort. Meanwhile, Mayo would go on to close out the scoring column for St. Joseph as the junior captured a last chance layup with five seconds remaining, sending the Blue Jays into the locker room clinging to a 42-30 lead.

Tensions were high at the start of the third as senior Elisha Pertillar (Windsor, Conn.) netted the first basket of the quarter at the 9:41 marker to keep the Blue Jays advantage. Elms senior Emily Burr (East Hartford, Conn.) capitalized at the charity stripe to trim the deficit to 44-31 for the Blazers. Moulton was steady at the stripe going 4-for-4 for the Blazers, while eventually registering a 6-for-6 mark on the evening. Marques continued to ignite the Elms flame as she posted six points alongside three steals. Despite Blazer efforts Elms would head into the fourth trailing by 13, 60-47.

The Blazers came out hot in the paint as they captured 14 points from the inside throughout the final quarter, the first off the hands of Sophomore Chaniah Pantry (New Haven, Conn.) at the 9:17 marker after a Marques steal enabled the play off the glass. Pantry would tally seven points throughout the fourth to aid in the scoring efforts for the Blazers. Mayo proved to be a dominate force for the Blue Jays offense as she totaled a game high 20 points to tie with Marques in the scoring column. Senior Carlee Putnam (Niantic, Conn.) also proved to be a power for St. Joseph as she tallied six points throughout the final quarter to send the Blue Jays away with the 76-64 victory.

The Blazers were paced by Marques behind her fourth double-double of the season, totaling a tied game-high 20 points, going 9-for-15 on the floor, with a game high 17 rebounds, five steals, and four blocks. Moulton recorded 10 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Aberdale logged seven points and five rebounds off the bench.

Mayo powered the Blue Jays with a tied game-high 20 points, shooting 7-of-8 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the foul line, with five assists and four rebounds. Putnam added 16 points with three rebounds, and Guest came two rebounds shy of a double-double with 14 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Charlotte Eberhardt (Thomaston, Conn.) also had a nice night for USJ posting 11 points off the bench in the win, while sophomore Dhimitra Hatika (South Windsor, CT) grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds.

Elms edged St. Joseph in the rebounding column, 47-38. The Blazers connected on 34.9% from the field (22-63), including 14.3% from the three-point line (1-7), and 55.9% from the foul line (19-34). St Joseph shot 49.2% from the floor (29-59), 50.0% from three point range (1-2), and 65.4% from the charity stripe (17-26).

The USJ basketball team will return to the hardwood next on Saturday, Jan. 7 when they host Great Northeast Athletic Conference opponent Suffolk at 1 p.m. inside the O'Connell Athletic Center.