WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph basketball team was stopped by the Suffolk University Rams on Sunday afternoon, 66-45, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference South Division game inside the O'Connell Center. The loss drops the Blue Jays to 5-6 overall on the season and 0-3 in GNAC play. Suffolk improves to 7-5 and 2-1 in the conference with the win.
Junior Kayla Guest (Newington, Conn.) led the way for the Blue Jays in the setback totaling 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in just 16 minutes of floor time. She shot 5-of-11 from the field and connected on 5-of-9 of her attempts from the free throw line. Senior Carlee Putnam (Niantic, Conn.) joined Guest in double figures with 12 points, connecting on 3-of-6 attempts from beyond the arc.
USJ was first to strike with a Guest layup in the opening minute in a slow starting opening quarter. That would be the only time the Blue Jays would hold the lead throughout the game, however, as Suffolk responded with an 11-0 run and never looked back for the remainder of the contest. Junior Alexandra Nagri (Salem, N.H.) fueled the run for the Rams with five points, capping it with a three-pointer. Putnam would extinguish the run with her first three of the game to make it 11-5 Suffolk at the 3:33 marker, but Suffolk went on to outscore USJ 12-3 over the remaining time to take a 23-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Sophomore Jada Lewis (East Hartford, Conn.) opened the scoring in the second quarter with a layup to get the Blue and Gold within 23-10, but a quick 8-0 spurt by the visitors built their lead up to 31-10 three and a half minutes into the second period. A pair of three balls from senior Kelsey Schiebel (Wyndham, N.H.) ignited the spurt for the Rams. Both teams traded buckets over the remainder of the quarter with Suffolk clinging to a 35-16 edge heading into halftime.
The Blue Jays really picked things up in the second half and opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run to get back within 12 (37-25) halfway through the period. Guest had four points and Putnam drained another three to facilitate the surge. The Rams would punch right back though and built their lead back up to 21 (51-30) at the end of the third quarter.
Both teams played dead even over the final 10 minutes of the game. Guest had a huge quarter for the Blue Jays accounting for seven of her 15 points in the final stanza, but it wasn't enough as Suffolk walked away with the 66-45 edge when the final buzzer sounded.
USJ struggled shooting from the floor connecting on just 16-of-60 (26.7%) attempts. Suffolk hit 25-of-56 (44.6%) shots, including 7-of-14 (50.0%) from beyond the arc.
Schiebel led the way for the Rams with 15 points, six rebounds, three assists and converted on 4-of-7 from three. Nagri also was in double figures with 10 points.
Suffolk held a significant advantage on the glass out rebounding the Blue Jays 51-34. They had five players with five or more rebounds in the game. Guest led the way with six for USJ.
The University of Saint Joseph basketball team will be back in action next at home on Tuesday night when they host the Simmons College Sharks at 7 p.m. in another Great Northeast Athletic Conference showdown.