NASHUA, N.H. — The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's basketball team came ready to play, but could not hold back the unselfish and aggressive play of Rivier University (RIV) in the second half, falling 84-73 inside Muldoon Gymnasium in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) contest Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Jays (3-16, 0-6 GNAC) have lost back-to-back games, while the Raiders (3-14, 1-6 GNAC) snap a three-game losing streak, and in doing so win their first conference game of the season.
USJ had no answer for the astonishing play of junior guard Elizabeth Meehan (Nashua, N.H.), who had a triple-double through three quarters, finishing with 27 points (12-20 FG, 3-4 3FG), 13 rebounds and 12 assists. Senior forward Megan Hamel (Colebrook, N.H.) added a double-double (16 PTS, 11 REBS) in the win for RIV. Freshman guard Silvana Barcomb (Middletown, Conn.) once again led the way for the Blue Jays with 16 points. She also had zero turnovers in 34 minutes of action. Freshman forward Lindsey Montminy (Vernon, Conn.) added eight points and nine rebounds.
The Blue Jays looked sharp early, knocking down shots at will. Freshman forward Cheyenne-Mone Smith (Wethersfield, Conn.) scored inside and got the foul line, while Barcomb, along with sophomore point guard Raelynn Voislow (Windsor Locks, Conn.) converted from outside. USJ took a 13-5 lead halfway through the first quarter.
The Raiders responded with a 12-1 run in less than two minutes, as Meehan and Hamel both took control on the offensive end. A basket by freshman guard Hannah Benson (Terryville, Conn.) stopped the run. USJ crawled back into it and ultimately took the lead to end the quarter, 22-20.
Behind baskets from Barcomb and sophomore guard Anna Chevarella (Derby, Conn.), Saint Joe's maintained a five-point lead, 29-24, with 8:00 to play in the second. Defense would prevail for the next three minutes, as neither team put points on the board. The Blue Jays did a really good job of having an answer for every hoop during this stretch, keeping that four to six point lead in the second. They led 36-30 with 2:38 left, but that's when the Raiders put their foot on the gas pedal, ending the quarter on a 10-0 run. Meehan and Hamel scored eight of the 10 points during the spurt. The Raiders led 40-36 at the break.
USJ came out and took the lead, 43-42, on a Barcomb three-pointer with 8:29 to play. It was the last time they led though, as RIV went on a 12-0 run in a minute and a half to secure an 11-point lead, 54-43, with 7:00 to go in the third. The Blue Jays would get no closer than nine, as the Raiders passed the ball left and right for high-percentage shots (23 assists on 31 field goals), and made the extra effort plays on the glass (plus 12 in rebounds), keeping Saint Joe's in the rearview mirror to the end.
USJ will play at home for the first time in nearly a month, when they go head-to-head with Simmons (MA) in another GNAC matchup on Tuesday, January 29 at 7:00 p.m., inside the O'Connell Center, on the campus of USJ. Rivier will travel north to Saint Joseph's (ME) on Thursday, January 31 at 7:00 p.m