By Joe Phelan, Assistant Sports Editor, @jphelan13
St. Bonaventure once again started off slow and fell behind early, but a whole-sale change by Bona head coach Jim Crowley jumpstarted the Bonnies as they defeated Colgate 54-45.
Senior guard Alaina Walker helped carry the Bonnies with 15 points and seven rebounds on the night, showing glimpses of what she is capable of on a regular basis.
“She (Walker) can do that every game,” Crowley said. “I thought she went to the basket well.”
St. Bonaventure fell behind 10-1 before the first media timeout, prompting Crowley to remove each one of his five starters.
“It has been a theme,” Crowley said. “We needed a spark.”
In each game this season, the Bonnies trailed from essentially the opening tip, lacking the passion they need.
“It was most disappointing because it has been a problem,” Crowley said. “It is something we’ve talked about. It was a challenge.”
Freshmen and seldom-used players from last year have helped the Bonnies in these situations.
Freshman Katie Healy hit two free throws; Nyla Rueter and Tatiana Wilson made layups to bring the Bonnies back within three points almost immediately upon entering the contest.
Then Crowley looked to his starters to deliver off the bench.
The instant Ashley Zahn re-entered the game, she knocked down a 3-pointer, and then seconds later, she hit another one.
“That is a kid who is used to coming off the bench, so she kind of settles herself down, comes back in and makes some things happen,” Crowley said.
After Carole Harris tied the game for Colgate (1-2) at 12 with 10:01 left in the first half, the Bonnies went on a 19-8 run to end the half.
The Bonnies built a 22-point lead after two free throws from Walker in the second half.
“The way we started the second half was outstanding, and then we tailed off,” Crowley said.