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The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

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Women’s Basketball Loss to Saint Joseph Wraps Up First Half of the Season

Zaylee+Ramos+26+reading+the+play+on+offense.+Ramos+would+finish+the+game+leading+all+scorers+with+17+points+%28via+MCLA+Athletics%29.
Zaylee Ramos ’26 reading the play on offense. Ramos would finish the game leading all scorers with 17 points (via MCLA Athletics).

It looked to be a neck-and-neck game throughout the first half as MCLA hosted the visiting University of Saint Joseph out of West Hartford. However, a tough Blue Jays defense would cause numerous turnovers and fouls for the Trailblazers and eventually would put the game out of reach, as MCLA would lose by a final score of 71-39. With the win, Saint Joseph would improve to a 10-1 record, while MCLA would drop to a 2-9 record. 

For Head Coach David Bostick, the overall experience of Saint Joseph, which features six seniors, was able to allow them to “take over” in the second half of the game, which he feels is what determined the win versus the loss.

“The first half, we executed really well,” he said. “But the second half, their experience just took over. They’re playing with a lot of seniors, guys who have been playing together for four, five years, so I think that really showed in the second half.”

Out of the gate, the game would begin with a common theme the Blue Jays taking a lead, and the Trailblazers responding with an answer of their own. Saint Joseph would begin the scoring first leading 4-0, but a Zaylee Ramos ‘26 jump shot and Hailey Peabody ‘26 layup got MCLA back in it and tied it up 4-4. Once again, Saint Joseph would score four more to go up 8-4, with Ramos responding with four more points to tie the game all at eight a piece.

It would be there though that the Blue Jays would start to take direction of the game. Free throw opportunities, good shooting, and finding open lanes in the paint would allow for them to go on a 12-0 run before Peabody would stop the bleeding with another layup and scored a free throw on an and-one opportunity to close out the first quarter with Saint Joseph leading 20-11. 

The second quarter would be neck and neck for both teams each scoring 14 points to close out the first half with a 34-25 Blue Jay lead. While the game remained close, Bostick believed that there were missed opportunities for the team to bring the game even closer or potentially to take the lead, something the team was not able to accomplish throughout the game.

“I think we missed a couple of shots that we normally make to make that a closer game in the first half,” he said. “We knew coming in, they were a very good team. They had good guard play all over the place, and we were trying to keep them out of the paint as much as possible, but we definitely gave up too many offensive rebounds in the first half, which I think also skewed in their favor in them creating a bigger lead and things like that.”

Entering the second half, Saint Joseph would make a defensive switch to a full-court press on the Trailblazer offense. As a result, it worked to their perfection and helped put the game out of reach for good. MCLA would only score six points and commit seven turnovers in the third quarter, allowing the Blue Jays to score eight points off of them through such turnovers, and 13 total throughout the game. Additionally, Saint Joseph would add on 19 points total of their own in the third quarter, going from a nine-point lead to a 51-34 lead entering the fourth quarter.

As a result of the new defensive plan for the Blue Jays, Ramos believes it caused the team to become more tired with a quicker, more aggressive style of play, and ultimately started to get to them on the mental side.

“I think we kind of got tired and we were fatigued mentally, so that definitely played a role,” she said. “That’s one of our biggest downfalls, and we need to be better mentally for us to be better on the court as a whole.”

The fourth quarter was a similar story, as Saint Joseph would add on 18 more points compared to the Trailblazers’ six, and would ultimately win the game 71-39. As MCLA wraps up the first half of the season with winter break on the horizon, Bostick feels that while they still have a long way to go, they are making the right strides as they come back to begin MASCAC play during winter break.

“I think we really made some strides today, and if we continue to build the way we are, we’ll actually see some success in the MASCAC,” he said. “I think that [the team] really works hard and they wanna get better, and we’re starting to play with a little bit of passion and we’re actually starting to learn that college basketball takes a little bit of grit, takes a little bit of heart, and winning games here is not easy no matter who you’re playing, you gotta go out and work for everything, so I think those things are really starting to click with our team and I think coming into next semester, we’ll be making some strides.”

The feeling rings true for the players, as Ramos looks for her and her teammates look to make a “difference” within the conference going forward.

“I feel like everyone already has a W next to our name when they are going to play us,” she said. “We’re here to play and we’re here to make a difference and change the culture MCLA has for women’s basketball.”

Hailey Peabody ’26 taking the ball down the court. Peabody finished the game with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds, along with a game-leading 5 blocks (via MCLA Athletics).

Overall in the game, Saint Joseph would hold advantages in nearly all main categories, including field goals (USJ 27-75 / 36.0%, MCLA 14-53 / 26.4%), three-pointers (USJ 3-11 / 27.3 %, MCLA 2-11 / 18.2%), rebounds (USJ 60, MCLA 29) points off turnovers (USJ 13, MCLA 2) second-chance points (USJ 25, MCLA 7) points in the paint: (USJ 40, MCLA 18), and bench Points (USJ 21, MCLA 2). The only category MCLA held a lone advantage in during the game were free throws (USJ 14-17 / 82.4%, MCLA 9-9 / 100.0%).

Additionally, notable performances for the Blue Jays include two players securing double-doubles in Taylor Verboven (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Jordan Ouellette (14 points, 12 rebounds), with Maya Slisz also reaching double-digit scoring with 12 points of her own. On MCLA’s side, Ramos would lead all scorers with 17 points, along with four rebounds, two assists, and a steal, with Peabody securing a double-double of her own with 11 points and 10 rebounds, along with leading both teams in blocks with 5.

Upon returning from break, the Trailblazers will continue on their season with a trip down to Dean College in Franklin to begin the new year on January 2, with tipoff scheduled for 5:00 PM EST. 

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Owen Brown, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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