STANDISH, Maine—The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's basketball team competed for 40 minutes, but ran into a tall and talented Saint Joseph's College (SJC) team that was simply better, falling 71-39, inside the Harold Alfond Center Saturday afternoon.
The Monks (15-0, 3-0 GNAC) continue their unbeaten season, while the Blue Jays (2-13, 0-3 GNAC) have struggled since their 2-2 start. USJ is also still winless on the road.
Senior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.), a career 1,500-point scorer, had a game-high 17 points and seven assists. McNamara had 14 points and six assists in the first half alone, controlling the pace for the Monks. 11 different players scored for SJC. Sophomore forward Shaniyah Williams (New Britain, Conn.) had a well-rounded performance; she shot well from the floor (5-8 FG, 1-1 3FG), and played scrappy defense (seven rebounds and a steal), scoring a team-high 11 points for the Blue Jays.
The Monks never trailed, opening up the game on a 22-2 run, as McNamara and senior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) combined to score the first 12 points of the game. After struggling to score for the entire quarter, sophomore point guard Raelynn Voislow (Windsor Locks, Conn.), and freshman forward Cheyenne-Mone Smith (Wethersfield, Conn.) scored on a jumper and nice reverse layup to get the Blue Jays going. Still, they trailed 26-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The hot shooting continued for the Monks, shooting better than 50% in the first half, outscoring the Blue Jays 23-6 in the second quarter to take a 49-12 halftime lead. The Monks forced USJ to turn the ball over with difficult passes and pressure defense. When USJ got a shot off in the first half, it was often late in the shot clock and well contested. The Monks turned their defense into offense, scoring in transition, and off turnovers before USJ could get their defense set. They forced 19 turnovers for 13 points.
Down 37 points at the half, it would've been very easy to cave in, but the Blue Jays did not. They kept the pressure on, outscoring the Monks in the second half. Williams opened up the half with a three-point bomb, but it was quickly answered with threes by senior forward Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine) and McNamara. Other Blue Jays got involved. Freshman guard Silvana Barcomb (Middletown, Conn.) drilled a three, while sophomore center Deanna De La Cruz (Winsted, Conn.) worked inside for a score. The Blue Jays doubled their point total with 12 in the quarter, and allowed only 16, the score 65-24 going into the fourth quarter.
USJ continued their in-game adjustments in the final period. Barcomb scored on three layups, while USJ got out and running, outscoring the Monks 6-4 on fast break opportunities. They also outscored the Monks 27-22 in the second half, and 15-6 in the fourth (all five starters scored), competing until the final buzzer.
USJ will be back in action on Saturday, January 19 in another GNAC battle at Norwich (VT), beginning at 1:00 p.m. SJC is back home again as they play Colby-Sawyer (NH) on Tuesday, January 15 at 6:00 p.m.