WEST HARTFORD, Conn.— The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's basketball team fought to the very end, but was worn down by a fundamentally sound and disciplined Northern Vermont University-Lyndon (NVU-L) team, 73-62.
The Blue Jays (2-11, 0-1 GNAC) have lost nine straight, while the Hornets (6-6, 3-2 NAC) are winners of four of their last five. Freshman guard Silvana Barcomb (Middletown, Conn.) led the Blue Jays with 17 points off the bench (7-11 FG). Sophomore point guard Raelynn Voislow (Windsor Locks, Conn.) added 13, but struggled from the field (4-14 FG, 2-9 3FG, 3-6 FT). She did grab nine rebounds and dish out three assists. Junior forward Alissa Mitchell (Milton, N.H.) controlled the game with 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks for the Hornets. Sophomore center Alisha Celley (Cabot, Verm.) had a double-double (13 PTS, 10 REBS). NVU-L was plus 12 in the paint, and outscored USJ 41-30 in the second half.
Early on it was the play of sophomore guard Anna Chevarella (Derby, Conn.) that got the Blue Jays going. She nailed a three, sank two free throws, and hit Barcomb in transition, which led to some free-throws. Barcomb scored twice from mid-range for a quick five points. Meanwhile, four starters scored for the Hornets, including freshman guard Lea Crompton (Dunbarton, N.H.), who drilled two threes in the first five minutes. Both teams were looking to run, making for a high-tempo first quarter. Barcomb slashed hard to the left after catching and reverse pivoting at the foul line. A quick lay-in gave USJ a slim 14-13 lead after one.
Voislow opened the second quarter with back-to-back scores, including a corner three. The Blue Jays turned to a 2-2-1 full-court press on a made basket, and it caused problems for the Hornets, forcing some long passes that sailed out of bounds. The Blue Jays held a slim lead for most of the quarter, but the extra effort from Mitchell kept the Hornets alive. Mitchell stole a pass with seconds remaining in the second quarter. Sophomore guard Shaniyah Williams (New Britain, Conn.) hustled back to contest the layup, which missed, but Mitchell grabbed the offensive rebound, and flipped a shot up and in as time expired. The game was tied after two quarters, 32-32. Mitchell led all first-half scorers with 11 points. She also grabbed seven rebounds, had three steals and two blocks. Chevarella scored eight of her 10 in the first half (2-2 3FG).
Celley and junior forward Rylee Moore (Livermore, Maine) took control inside in the third, combining for 11 of the Hornets' 23 third quarter points. The Hornets converted on several and-ones, got good position in the post, and also caught the Blue Jays out of position in transition. Chevarella, along with freshman forward Cheyenne-Mone Smith (Wethersfield, Conn.) kept the Blue Jays close, but they still trailed after three, 55-48.
The Hornets built their largest lead of the game, 59-50, with 8:10 left in the fourth. Freshman forward Ashlynn Bardos (Beaumont, Calif.) once again got really good position inside, and converted on an easy lay-in. Another basket by Mitchell, and a USJ turnover opened the game up to 11, 61-50 with 7:00 to go. In the end, the Hornets had too much size, and wore down the extra effort of the Blue Jays, who worked hard to outrebound NVU-L by one, but were unable to do anything about the double-digit deficit before the final buzzer.
Saint Joe's will start their longest road trip of the season as conference play officially kicks off—six games, first at Colby-Sawyer (NH) Tuesday, January 8, at 5:30 p.m. Vermont-Lyndon is headed home for a matchup with UMaine-Farmington (ME) Friday, January 11th, at 7:30 p.m.