WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Senior captain Xajaah Williams-Flores posted a career-high 17 rebounds as the Mount Holyoke College basketball team wrapped up action for 2016 at the University of Saint Joseph on Saturday. Despite the effort, the Lyons shouldered a 63-28 loss to the BlueJays. USJ moves to 4-5 on the season, while MHC is now 2-7.
The homestanding BlueJays got off to a hot start in the contest, building up an 11-3 lead following a layup and free throw make from junior guard and captain Rajeen Mayo (Middletown, Conn./Middletown). Williams-Flores (The Bronx, N.Y./Holderness School) cut the deficit for the visitors to six (11-5) with a layup inside at 3:59, but Saint Joseph continued to press for a double-digit lead (15-5) behind a shot in the paint from Mayo.
A make at the line from junior guard Genesis DiCarlo (Sullivan, Maine/Sumner Memorial) helped close the gap once more, followed by a jumper from Williams-Flores with 48 seconds to go, making it a 15-8 lead for USJ, who headed into the second stanza with a 17-8 advantage.
In the second quarter, the BlueJays made it a 23-8 lead on a jumper from Mayo at the 7:18 mark, but a bucket at the other end by sophomore forward Michaela Butin (Beverly, Mass./The Waring School) helped cut the deficit to 13 (23-10). The two teams continued to trade points as a layup by USJ's Elisha Pertillar (Windsor, Conn./Windsor) pushed it to 28-12, which saw the Lyons respond as DiCarlo nailed two free throws to pull MHC back to within 14.
Trailing by 18 with 2:05 to go, the Lyons battled back as senior forward Julia McConnell (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal) and Williams-Flores each nailed buckets to make it 32-18 at the intermission.
USJ came out firing in the third quarter as Mayo sank a three just seconds into the frame. The BlueJays saw junior forward Kayla Guest (Newington, Conn./Newington) sink a layup at 5:06 to grab a 21-point advantage, but the Lyons answered as first year point guard Kathryn Violette (Yokosuka City, Japan/Yokohama International School) converted a pair of shots at the line.
A layup from junior guard Peyton Burr (Fayston, Vt./Harwood Union) closed the gap to 17 (39-22), along with shots from Violette and DiCarlo, but a 6-0 run from the home team helped send them into the final quarter with the 45-26 edge.
In the final quarter, a jumper from MHC sophomore guard Leah Hodges (New Haven, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral) helped make it a 47-28 game with 6:16 to play, but USJ grabbed the momentum, stifling the Lyons offense over the final minutes.
USJ saw Mayo record a game-best 14 points, adding six boards, five assists, a block and a steal. Guest chipped in with 13 points and eight rebounds with a game-best three steals, while Pertillar posted 10 points and 10 boards to round out the double-figure scorers for the home team.
In addition to Williams-Flores, who also had a team-high eight points with a block, Mount Holyoke saw DiCarlo finish with five points, three boards and a game-high three steals. Hodges added six rebounds, while McConnell had four points and six boards.