NEWTON, Mass. - Senior Carlee Putnam (Niantic, Conn.) poured in a game-high 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc to power the University of Saint Joseph basketball team past the Lasell College Lasers on the road on Saturday afternoon, 63-51. The victory gives the Blue Jays their first Great Northeast Athletic Conference win on the season as they improve to 6-7 overall and 1-4 in league play. Lasell drops to 5-8 and 2-4 in the GNAC with the loss.
It marks the third time this year that Putnam has netted 28 points and the second time she has made five or more three's in a game. She was joined in double fiigures in the victory by junior Kayla Guest (Newington, Conn.) who finished with 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds. It marks the sixth straight game Guest has posted double digit points.
It was a continuous back-and-forth battle to begin the contest, before Putnam's shot made from behind the arc put the Blue Jays up, 27-25, with just over a minute to play before halftime. Lasell's defense, led by freshman Dana Ross (East Haven, Conn.) with four rebounds, held the margin at two (27-25) heading into the locker rooms and kept the visitors shooting at 30.8% in the first half, while the Lasers shot 42.3% in the stanza.
USJ came out strong in the second half with a key 10-2 run to build a 37-27 lead and forced a Lasers' timeout just over three minutes into the period. A pair of three balls from Putnam to open the half fueled the spurt for the Blue Jays.
The Lasers would go on a run of their own with four three-pointers, two of them coming from sophomore Taylor Hughey (Redding, Calif.), to pull within four, 43-39, with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter. Hughey scored nine points overall off the bench for Lasell, all of which came from three-point territory. However, a Guest lay-in just before the buzzer halted the run and gave USJ a 45-39 edge heading into the final period of play.
USJ carried the momentum over into the fourth quarter and put the game away with a 13-0 run over the first half of the fourth period to build a 58-39 lead. The Blue Jays' defense kept the Lasers off the scoreboard for the opening 5:40 of the fourth quarter to help create the separation and they would eventually hold on for the 63-51 victory.
Junior Morgan Church (New London, N.H.) paced the Lasers with 15 points, while classmate Brianna Hoffman (Milford, N.H) finished with 13 points off the bench. Ross finished with a career-high 14 rebounds, contributing to the Lasers' 31 total, while the Blue Jays pulled down 39.
Putnam dominated with a game-high 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting as the Blue Jays shot 40.4 percent (21-52) from the field as a team in the game, including 50.0 percent (5-10) from beyond the arc. USJ also had its best game of the season from the free throw line to seal the victory, converting at an 80.0 percent (16-20) clip. Lasell shot 34.5 percent (20-58) from the floor, 29.6 percent (8-27) from three and 60.0 percent (3-5) from the free throw line.
The University of Saint Joseph will return to action next on Monday, Jan. 16 with a 1 p.m. tip-off against GNAC South Division rival Mount Ida inside the O'Connell Athletic Center.