WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's basketball team fought hard all game long, but could not hold off the charging Rams of Suffolk University (SU) in the fourth quarter, losing 57-45 inside the O'Connell Center Saturday Afternoon.
The third quarter proved to be the difference maker, as the Rams (5-3) doubled up the Blue Jays (2-6) 20-10. Senior guard Marissa Gudauskas (Bolton, Conn.) single-handedly controlled the third, scoring eight points (including back-to-back threes) and dishing out two assists. She finished the game with 12 points. Sophomore guard Jennifer-Rose DiCecco (Falmouth, Mass.) controlled the pace as a whole, scoring a team-high 16 points and dishing out 6 assists. Sophomore guard Melicia Mendez (Hartford, Conn.) scored a game-high 18 points (6-8 FG) for the Blue Jays. It's the second time this season USJ player came off the bench, and led the team in scoring (Barcomb @ Nichols). Freshman guard Cheyenne-Mone Smith (Wethersfield, Conn.) recorded her first career double-double (10 PTS, 10 REBS) in 39 minutes.
The Rams struck first, in particular junior forward Alexis Hackett (Charlton, Mass.), who scored seven points, and grabbed seven rebounds in the opening quarter. Saint Joe's trailed 12-7 early in the second, but neither team would lead by more than five in the first half, as fans inside the O'Connell Center were treated to some great back and forth action. With help from Smith, Mendez, and timely work on both ends from sophomore guard Raelynn Voislow (Windsor Locks, Conn.), USJ took a 22-21 lead into the locker room.
The rams regained the lead on a 10-0 out of the break--back-to-back threes from Gudauskas, and a lay-in by Hackett running the floor stopped the Blue Jays in its tracks. Just like that, Suffolk had their largest lead of the game, 31-22 with 8:25 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Suffolk would not trail again, as USJ would go nearly five minutes without a score. Even when the Blue Jays made their run late in the fourth, cutting it to eight with just minutes left, the Rams seemed to always have an answer—relying on a three-pointer from freshman forward Natalie Fraioli (Sutton, Mass.) and an old-fashioned three-point play from DiCecco. It was enough to put any comeback away for good.
Saint Joe's will host Becker (Mass.) this Monday, December 3rd, at 7:00 p.m. inside the O'Connell Athletic Center on the campus of USJ. Suffolk is headed home for a matchup with Fitchburg State (Mass.) Thursday, December 6th, at 7:00 p.m.