WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's basketball team fought as hard as they have all season for forty minutes, but it was not enough to overcome the obstacles put in their way by the very disciplined Trinity College (TC) Bantams, who beat the Blue Jays 77-34 inside the O'Connell Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon.
Freshman forward Cheyenne-Mone Smith (Wethersfield, Conn.) led the Blue Jays (2-5) with 12 points, after missing one game with an injury. Sophomore guard Shaniyah Williams (New Britain, Conn.) chipped in with eight points. 11 different players scored 77 points for the Bantams (3-0), who led from the opening tip. Senior guard Becky Reifler (Garden City, N.Y.) led all scorers with 13 points on 3-of-5 from three. Trinity has won all three of their games by 20 points or more, while USJ has dropped their last three.
TC quickly jumped out to a 7-0 lead off an uncontested layup on the opening tip from sophomore guard Allie Morin (Westwood, Mass.), and a three from the wing by senior forward Erin Cunningham (Wilton, Conn.).
Two quick baskets from junior forward Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.) increased the lead to nine at 12-3 with 6:45 left in the first. First Year Blue Jay Head Coach Wendy Davis immediately called timeout, and switched from their usual 3-2 zone to a man-to-man defense.
The Bantams capitalized on the offensive glass—twice an outside shooter ran in and grabbed an offensive rebound off her own miss. Still, the Blue Jays kept the pressure on Trinity, attacking the hoop and remaining active defensively. Sophomore guard Raelynn Voislow (Windsor Locks, Conn.) had two steals in the first quarter, but USJ just wasn't able to convert around the hoop. Saint Joe's shot just 2-for-17 in the first, while Trinity was 7-for-15. TC was also 7-for-9 from the FT line, while USJ did not attempt a foul shot. Kabari was a perfect 4-for-4 with nine points, and the Bantams led big after one, 23-5.
USJ did everything they could to try and claw their way back into this one. Senior center Diamond Wallen (Hartford, Conn.) stuck her nose in anywhere she could, and was seen talking to her teammates between plays, providing direction and encouraging them to keep fighting, but the Bantams just kept coming up with answers. If it wasn't their gritty man-to-man defense, it was their lights-out three-point shooting, or their relentless work on the boards. Senior center Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) had 10 rebounds in the first half alone, freshman guard Bailey Hyland (Broad Brook, Conn.) and Reifler both connected from deep, and Trinity took a 33-5 lead with 5:14 left in the second.
Freshman guard Silvana Barcomb (Middletown, Conn.) once again made contributions off the bench, but it just wasn't enough. Those 11 different players who scored for Trinity all did so in the first half, and held a commanding 41-12 lead at halftime.
The Blue Jays came out of the locker room engaged and eager to keep fighting, but in the end, the Bantams had too many weapons, were too strong and too fast, holding serve in the second half on both ends.
Saint Joe's will play their first conference game of the season at home this Saturday, December 1st, at 3:30 p.m. against Suffolk inside the O'Connell Athletic Center on the campus of USJ. Trinity College will be home for the second game of their back-to-back Monday, November 26th, at 7:00 p.m. vs. Gordon.