NEWTON, Mass. - Junior Rajeen Mayo (Middletown, Conn.) exploded for a career-high 27 points, but the University of Saint Joseph was edged by the Mount Ida College Mustangs, 70-62, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference South Division showdown inside the Mount Ida Athletic Center on Tuesday evening. The loss drops the Blue Jays overall record to 8-13 and they slip to 2-10 in the GNAC, while Mount Ida improves to 6-16 overall and 2-11 in the league.
Mayo was on fire from the floor, netting her career-high 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. She also hit 7-of-9 attempts from the free throw line and added six rebounds, four steals and three assists to her stat line.
A balanced scoring attack helped give Mount Ida College their second GNAC win. Early scoring was a key factor for Mount Ida as they opened up the game on a 12-2 run in the first quarter. Junior guard Breanna Muir (Wareham, Mass.) controlled that scoring out of the gate by hitting back-to-back three-point shots.
The Mustangs early run was halted by the Blue Jays as they scored eight consecutive points to bring it back to within four of Mount Ida. However, the Mustangs answered back with diverse scoring to give themselves a 13-point lead, 26-13, early in the second quarter. USJ rallied back over the second half of the second quarter and was able to bring it to within four, 28-24, heading into halftime. Mayo and senior Carlee Putnam (Niantic, Conn.) powered the comeback charge.
The second half was very similar to the first as Mount Ida narrowly outscored the Blue Jays 42-38 over the final 20 minutes. With the game tied at 52-52 and six minutes remaining in the game, Mount Ida went on a 12-2 run to push through for the win. Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch by the Mustangs sealed the victory as the hosts connected on 9-of-10 attempts in the final two minutes.
Senior Katlyn Jesse (Marshfield, Mass.) led the Mustangs scoring a team-high 15 points and grabbed five rebounds. Classmate Angelique Martinez (Taunton, Mass.) posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while senior forward Brittany Crosby (Riverside, R.I.) added 12 points and eight boards for Mount Ida.
Putnam and junior Kayla Guest (Newington, Conn.) finished joining Mayo in double figures for the Blue Jays. They each poured in 15 points, respectively, while Putnam grabbed four rebounds and Guest finished with three. Senior Elisha Pertillar (Windsor, Conn.) led the way on the glass for USJ pulling down a team-high eight boards.
USJ finished shooting 33.8 percent (22-of-65) from the field as a team and 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from distance. The Blue and Gold converted for 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the free throw line. The Mustangs hit for 34.7 percent (26-of-75) from the floor, 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from three and won the game at the charity stripe connecting on 81.3 percent (13-of-16) of their attempts.
The USJ basketball team will return to the hardwood next on Thursday night when they travel to take on the Simmons College Sharks at 7 p.m.