[Doris Ortega takes a mid-range jumper in the Bonnies Atlantic 10 Conference opening loss to Temple – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]
By Joe Phelan, Assistant Sports Editor, @jphelan13
St. Bonaventure opened up Atlantic 10 Conference action much like they started the non-conference slate — filled with promise, but ultimately let it slip away.
The Bonnies held a seven-point lead with over six minutes remaining, but allowed Temple to roar back to win, 67-59
Victoria Macaulay led the Owls (7-8, 1-0) with 21 points, including four free throws to close out the Bonnies in the final seconds.
“We didn’t rebound down the stretch,” said St. Bonaventure head coach Jim Crowley. “When you’re up seven with six minutes to go playing at home you have to finish it off.”
Temple outrebounded St. Bonaventure 38 to 31, including 15 of those on the offensive glass.
“That’s what got us in trouble—we couldn’t win those Rebounds,” said Bona’s senior Alaina Walker. “In order to win that game, we need to win those rebounds.”
At 6-foot-4, Macaulay had a size advantage over everyone the Bonnies could have matched up against her. However, even though Doris Ortega played spirited defense on her, Macaulay still was able to record 12 rebounds on the afternoon.
Temple’s Natasha Thames had two quick fouls in the first half, limiting her impact on the game but the Owls felt her presence in the second half.
“She is a guy we count on to play defense,” said Temple head coach Tonya Cardoza. “Whatever we get from the offensive end is a bonus.”
Meanwhile, the Bonnies played through the offense of junior Doris Ortega and freshman Emily Michael who combined to score 28 points.
“With Katie playing some more minutes that allows us to put Doris on the perimeter which she’s not only really good at getting to the basket, but as you can see by her assists numbers she is really good at finding people,” said Crowley.
Ortega, who had to deal with the taller Macaulay, finished with 16 points and eight assists.
Michael did her best Jessica Jenkins impression by knocking down all four of her 3-point attempts.
“I am really confident in my shot now,” said Michael. “I really work at it a lot.”
The offense played well in spurts, especially during a 59 percent shooting first half„ but after Temple’s Tyonna Williams hit a 3-pointer to give the Owls a 61-59 lead with 1:26 remaining in the game, the Bonnies missed three shots to end the chance of a comeback.
“I put in my notes if we got to 60 I thought we’d win. And we got stuck at 59,” said Crowley. “We were kind of one basket away from putting it away.”
Part of the reason for the loss had to be the uncharacteristic for a Crowley team — 14 turnovers. The Owls took advantage of the miscues to a tune of 21 points.
“We had a couple of bad turnovers, but that is going to happen with young people having the ball in some new situations,” said Crowley.
The Bonnies lost the game in the final moments because of rebounding.
“We can’t blow another lead because we don’t rebound,” said Crowley. “That is on our players to correct.”
Crowley sent a stern message to his team after the game which should serve as a lesson
“At the end of the day, we needed to win the ball some more, and we didn’t. Now does that inspire us? And help us learn that lesson.”
With one game down and 13 to go, the Bonnies have plenty to play for.
“The way we played today we can win some games,” said Crowley.