WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - A well-rounded attack on both ends proved to be too much for the Blue Jays, as the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's basketball team fell in their season opener, 59-39, to the Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) Knights.
Fans looked on inside the O'Connell Athletic Center today, hoping the Blue Jays (0-1) could make it two basketball wins in less than a day—Only the Knights (1-0) had something to say about it.
MSMC made half of their shots (10), from three-point range, six coming in the third quarter alone. Sophomore guard Katie Smith (Goshen, N.Y.) led the charge with 16 points on 4-of-6 from three. Freshman forward Cheyenne Mone-Smith (Wethersfield, Conn.) had a team-high nine points and seven rebounds for USJ.
The Blue Jays looked to set up senior forward Diamond Wallen (Hartford, Conn.) early, scoring on an and-1, while drawing several other fouls inside, putting the Knights in the penalty midway through the first quarter.
MSMC would capitalize though on second-chance points and several USJ turnovers. Senior forward Elizabeth Limonta (Stewart Manor, N.Y.) made her first four shots of the game, sparking a 15-3 run to end the first quarter. The Knights held a 19-10 lead after one.
MSMC would continue to rely on the long ball and converting off USJ turnovers. Three-pointers from freshman forward Annie Keenan (Nesconset, N.Y.), and senior guard Maite Gritsko (Milford, Conn.) built a 13-point lead midway through the second quarter. The Knights kept their feet on the gas pedal, applying some full-court pressure on each made basket.
It wasn't enough to put the Blue Jays away. Contributions from the bench kept the game in reach for first-year Head Coach Wendy Davis. Sophomore guard Anna Chevarella (Derby, Conn.), freshman guard Silvana Barcomb (Middletown, Conn.), and sophomore forward Deanna De La Cruz (Winstead, Conn.) all chipped in. The Blue Jays stayed in striking distance, trailing 34-22 at the half.
Smith controlled the pace of the second half for MSMC, scoring eight of her 16 points in the first four minutes.
The lead ballooned by midway through the third. The Knights hit four of their first six three-pointers to take a commanding lead 56-28. The Blue Jays were outscored 22-6 in the third quarter.
USJ still wasn't going to stop fighting. Extra effort from freshman guard Lindsey Montminy (Vernon, Conn.) and sophomore guard Raelynn Voislow (Windsor Locks, Conn.) turned things around in the fourth quarter. USJ Head Coach Wendy Davis kept things positive, and the Blue Jays outscored the Knights 11-3 in the fourth, pressuring MSMC until the final buzzer.
USJ will head north to Dudley, Mass. for its first away game of the season against Nichols College Monday, November 12 at 7:00 pm.