College of St. Joseph's women's basketball team improved to 7-8 after a 77-64 win over Vermont Technical College on Wednesday night. Daija Black had an all around stellar night, recording 20 points, nine steals, seven assists and five rebounds.
Kiana Royer got on the board first with a made three point jump shot, putting VTC ahead 3-0 seconds into the game. Aliesha Thomas was the next to score, and she netted her first three pointer of the game off one of Black's first assist of the night.
Olivia Reynolds drove through the paint for a layup to give the Knights a two point advantage on their next possession. After a missed shot from long range, Thomas grabbed an offensive rebound and reset the play. Thomas fed Black on the wing, who tossed a pass into the post to Jayla Latham for a basket after a strong post move.
Black earned her third assist on the Saints' third possession of the contest when she fed NaKeeya Goodman-Boddie a quick pass for an open three point shot, which gave the Fighting Saints their first lead of the night, 8-5.
Mariah Rilling tied the game at 14 after a layup for VTC with 2:44 to play. One minute later, a four point run by Tatasiana Cheatham, cut by a Royer layup for the Knights, put CSJ ahead 18-16. This time Madalyn Leggett tied the score for the Knights, netting a jump shot in the paint with 22 seconds to play in the first frame.
Alexius Brooks went 1-2 from the free throw line to give the Saints a slight edge, 19-18 going into the second quarter. CSJ was outrebounded 13-11 in the first frame of play. VTC committed six turnovers to the Saints' five.
Madison Akins cut through the lane for a layup to put CSJ ahead 21-18 one minute into the second frame. Akins then put in work on the defensive end, collecting a steal and leading a fast break that would result in an Arielys Rodriguez layup. Rodriguez was fouled on the play but unable to convert the free throw. VTC's Austen LaFrance came up with the rebounds and led the Knights' on a fast break opportunity. LaFrance gave the ball up to Reynolds for a layup, bringing VTC within three, 23-20.
Rodriguez then swished a three from the corner for the Saints off Akins' second assist of the night, giving the Lady Saints some room to breathe with a six point lead. Two scoreless minutes passed before Brooks converted a strong post move after receiving a pass from Thomas. Thomas then notched her second three of the night a minute later, giving the Saints an 11-point lead with five minutes to play before halftime.
Rilling swished a three pointer 13 seconds later to bring the score to 31-23 and bring a spark to her team. After a CSJ missed jump shot, Xzavia Berry was fouled and sent to the charity stripe. She connected 1-2. The Lady Saints committed a turnover on their next possession and Rilling netted a layup as a results, bringing the game to 31-26.
Black halted the VTC run with a layup off of an offensive rebound. She then scored a jump shot after fighting to win the ball back under VTC's basket, giving the Saints a 35-26 lead. Two VTC jump shots and another layup by Black left the score at 37-30 when the whistle blew for halftime.
Each team increased their turnover total in the second quarter, an indication of hasty play and soft passes. VTC gave up 10 and CSJ, eight. The Lady Saints improved on rebounding and boxing out in the second frame of play, this time edging VTC 13-6 in the category.
The Lady Saints stepped on the gas after the halftime break, outscoring VTC 24-17 in the third quarter. Black was unstoppable, notching 10 points and five steals in the quarter. Goodman-Boddie notched her second three-pointer on her second attempt of the night and Crisalida Chaplin went 3-4 from the foul line. CSJ had a 61-47 lead going into the fourth frame.
VTC outscored the Lady Saints 17-16 in the fourth quarter, with the help of eight points by Rilling alone, but CSJ had built enough of a cushion to secure the 77-64 win. Rilling finished with a game-high 24 points and also recorded five rebounds, five steals and four assists. Legett notched 14 rebounds and eight points.
Thomas finished with her first double-double for CSJ. She notched 13 points and 12 rebounds, and also contributed five assists and five steals. Rodriguez had eight points, and Goodman-Boddie tallied seven. Chaplin scored seven points and pulled down six rebounds.
The Lady Saints play their second game in two days on Jan. 25 at Paul Smith's College at 5 p.m.