WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Junior Kayla Guest (Newington, Conn.) poured in a season-high 20 points, while junior Carlee Putnam (Niantic, Conn.) added 18 to lift the University of Saint Joseph basketball team to its second consecutive GNAC victory, downing Mount Ida College, 66-60, on Monday afternoon inside the O'Connell Center. The win improves the Blue Jays overall record to 7-7 on the season and a 2-4 mark in conference action, while the Mustangs slip to 3-11 and 0-6 in the league with the setback.
Guest netted her season-high 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the floor and converted 6-of-9 free throw attempts. She also added four rebounds and a pair of assists in the win. Putnam did a lot of her damage from the charity stripe hitting 8-of-11 attempts, including 5-of-6 from the line in the final minute to secure the victory.
The first half saw neither team lead by more than six points in a seesaw back and forth opening 20 minutes of action. After the Blue Jays opened the game with a layup from senior Elisha Pertillar (Windsor, Conn.), the Mustangs responded with a quick 7-0 spurt to race out to an early lead less than two minutes into the game. USJ would answer though and kept things tight over the remainder of the period and trailed by just one, 14-13, at the end of the first quarter.
USJ then took back the lead since the opening minutes of the game, 16-14, after Putnam converted an old fashioned three-point play on a fast break opportunity at the 8:17 mark of the second period. The Blue Jays would go on to build their lead to as large as six, 27-21, following a made jumper by Guest with 1:57 remaining in the half. However, the Mustangs would respond and trimmed the deficit to 27-24 heading into the halftime break with three straight points from senior Katlyn Jesse (Marshfield, Mass.) to close the half.
Mount Ida junior Trish Liotta (Hampton Bays, N.Y.) opened the third quarter with a three ball to tie the game, 27-27, but Putnam answered the next trip down the floor to give USJ back the lead. The Mustangs would then mount a charge and retook the lead, 35-34, at the 6:46 mark in the third led by four points from senior Brittany Crosby (Riverside, R.I.). USJ punched back once again right away though and closed the half outscoring the visitors 13-5 to take a 47-40 edge into the final period.
A late run by the Mustangs in the fourth quarter pulled them within two, 56-54, with 2:47 left in regulation, but the Blue Jays would go 8-of-16 from the free throw line over the last two minutes, including 5-of-6 from Putnam in the final minute to hold on for a 66-60 final.
USJ's Guest led all scorers with 20 points followed by Putnam with 18. Pertillar had a nice game for the Blue Jays adding nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, while grabbing a team-high seven rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Diamond Wallen (Hartford, Conn.) finished with seven points and six rebounds off the bench.
Mount Ida had three players in double figures led by Jesse who finished with 15. Liotta added 13 and junior Breanna Muir (Wareham, Mass.) tallied 12.
Mount Ida held the edge on the glass outrebounding the Blue Jays, 50-42, and were led by Crosby who snagged a game-high 10 boards. Freshman Charlotte Eberhardt (Thomaston, Conn.) led the way for the Blue Jays with a career-high nine rebounds.
The USJ basketball team will return to action next on Thursday, Jan. 19 when they travel to Saint Joseph's College of Maine for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off with the Monks inside the Harold Alfond Center in Standish, Maine.