WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Junior Kayla Guest (Newington, CT) posted her first double-double of the 2016-17 season with 16 points and 11 rebounds to power the Blue Jays to a 72-57 victory over the Mitchell College Mariners in the consolation game of the 19th Annual USJ Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday afternoon. With the victory the Blue Jays improve to 2-1 on the year while Mitchell falls to 0-3.
Guest scored 16 points on five-of-14 shooting from the floor, including two-of-four from behind the arc and made four-of-six free throw attempts in 26 minutes of floor time. In addition to her 11 rebounds, she also added four steals and three blocks. Classmate Rajeen Mayo (Middletown, CT) led all scorers in the contest with 22 points and she also finished with five steals and four assists.
Jessica Shepherd (West Hartford, CT), who was named to the All-Tournament Team for Mitchell, led the way for the Mariners with a team-high 16 points on six-of-15 shooting from the field, including four-of-nine from three. Jessica Pinard posted a double-double for the visitors with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Blue Jays got off to a slow start for the second day in a row falling behind the Mariners 7-2 just over two minutes into the contest. USJ would battle back though and took a 10-9 lead following a pair of made free throws by sophomore Jada Lewis (East Hartford, CT) with 2:38 remaining in the opening period and would never trail again for the remainder of the game.
After leading 15-12 at the end of the first quarter, USJ used a huge second quarter to build a comfortable lead and take a 39-21 lead at halftime. The Blue Jays outscored Mitchell 24-9 in the period led by eight points from Mayo and six from Guest. A three-pointer by Shepherd with 3:20 left before halftime pulled Mitchell within nine, 31-20, but the Blue Jays would close out the half strong with eight unanswered points.
USJ continued to tack it on after the halftime intermission and went on to take its largest lead of the game, 44-21, after a made free throw by Guest two minutes into the third quarter. Play for remainder of the quarter into the fourth quarter was consistent on both sides with USJ holding a steady lead throughout as both teams traded buckets.
Shepherd's final three of the game pulled the visitors back within single digits, 62-53, halfway through the fourth quarter, but that would be as close as they would get for the remainder of the game as clutch free throw shooting down the stretch sealed the 72-57 victory for the Blue Jays.
Saint Joseph shot 42.1% (24-57) from the floor and 66.7% (20-30) from the line in the win and held Mitchell to 29.2% (21-72) shooting from the field and 46.7% (7-15) at the charity stripe. The Mariners held a slight edge on the glass outrebounding USJ 48-45, but the Blue Jays forced 23 turnovers and held a 27-12 advatage in points off turnovers. The also dominated down low once again and outscored Mitchell 36-18 in the paint.
Carlee Putnam (Niantic, CT) also scored in double-figures for the Blue Jays in the win with 15 points after her 28-point performance in the tournment's opening game and was later named to the USJ Tip-Off Tournament All-Tournament Team.
The USJ basketball team will return to action next with its first road contest of the season. They head to Wentworth for a battle with the Leopards on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m.
2016 USJ Tip-Off Tournament All-Tournament Team
Jessica Shepherd - Mitchell College
Carlee Putnam - Saint Joseph
Kyra Rose - Fitchburg State
Emily Kopp - Wellesley
Kendall You Mak (MVP) - Wellesley
Runner-Up: Fitchburg State