WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – It was a game you did not want to miss, as the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's basketball team got it done in its 2020-21 season opener and Senior Day, 69-66, in a nail-biter over the Mitchell College (MC) Mariners, inside the O'Connell Center Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Jays relied on a trio of scorers to close out the ball game, including junior forward Cheyenne-Mone Smith (Wethersfield, Conn.), who scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor. She also added seven rebounds, four steals, and three blocks. Freshman guard Jordan Ouellette (Bristol, Conn.) and sophomore guard Taylor Verboven (Columbia, Conn.) added 17 each in their Blue Jay debuts. All three hit eight field goals apiece, enough to keep USJ out front, despite a late run from the Mariners. Junior forward Amina Riley (New Rochelle, N.Y.) was a presence throughout, scoring 17 points and grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds for MC.
After a neck-and-neck first half, the Blue Jays kicked it into high gear, doubling up the Mariners in the third quarter, as seven players combined to score 24 points. Senior guard Anna Chevarella (Derby, Conn.) beat the buzzer with a three-ball to give USJ an 11-point lead heading into the fourth. Both Chevarella and senior guard Raelynn Voislow (Windsor Locks, Conn.) were honored before tipoff with a senior ceremony.
Give credit to the Mariners, they gave the Blue Jays all they could handle in the final 10 minutes, trimming the lead a bucket at a time until the game was tied at 66-66 with less than two minutes to go. MC never got the chance to take the lead though, as Smith secured and scored on an offensive rebound to put USJ up 68-66 with 1:30 to play. The Blue Jays held on over the final few possessions, adding a free throw to make it a three-point game at the buzzer.
Score: Mitchell 66, Saint Joseph 69
Location: O'Connell Center | West Hartford, Conn.
COACH QUOTE [Wendy Davis]
"We've been practicing since October 1st, so to finally play a game was just amazing. We had four people in double figures, that is just what we needed, some balanced scoring, which we did not have last year."
PLAYER QUOTE [Cheyenne-Mone Smith]
"I just wanted to win. It has been so long since I have been on the court, so I just played with my heart."
NUMBER TO KNOW
20 – The Blue Jays benefitted from 20 bench points, a plus-eight margin over MC.
- The Mariners crashed the glass big time, outrebounding USJ by 20 despite the loss.
- USJ shot 7-for-19 from the foul line (37%). MC shot 14-for-27 (52%).
- Eight players scored for the Blue Jays.
The two Connecticut schools will meet again on Thursday, March 11, when the Blue Jays travel to Mitchell College for a 6:00 p.m. tipoff.
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