Bonnies’ Defense Sets Record In Win

[Alaina Walker scored a team-high 16 points in St. Bonaventure’s victory over Rhode Island on Wednesday night – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]

By Joe Phelan, Assistant Sports Editor, @jphelan13

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — After earning their first Atlantic 10 Conference victory of the season on Saturday, St. Bonaventure aimed to grab their first two-game winning streak since last month.

Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Rams entered the Reilly Center winless in A-10 play and Bona made sure it stayed that way.

Utilizing both a stifling defense and poor play by the Rams, St. Bonaventure won their second straight game, 48-28.

The 28 points allowed by the Bonnies (9-10, 2-2) set a record for the fewest points allowed in a game in program history.

“Any time you score 48 and still win by 20, you’re playing some pretty wicked defense,” Bona head coach Jim Crowley said.

While CeCe Dixon did not play due to internal issues, Bona’s defense did not skip a beat as they forced Rhode Island (5-14, 0-4) to shoot just 26.8 percent from the field.

And nothing pleases Bona’s head man more than playing tough defense.

“I’m just really proud of our defense,” Crowley said. “I think our kids are really starting to get what we are about.”

While Alaina Walker is mostly known for her impact on the defensive side of the ball, the senior has started to pick her offensive game as well.

Walker’s 16 points led all scorers and her nine rebounds left her one shy of recording a double-double on the night.

“A couple days ago, after the Richmond game, we challenged the team, who wants the ball. Who is going to make plays?” Crowley said.

No one has responded to the challenge more so than Bona’s senior leader who also recorded 21 points in their victory over UMass on Saturday.

“Her (Walker) and I talked about just taking over and how much confidence we have in her,” Crowley said. “She is doing what she is certainly capable of.”

And what she is capable of is doing the little things that mean everything for a winning program. Walker crashes the boards on every possession, she willingly takes charges and hedges on screens.

But her work in the gym has helped her expand her role as well.

“What you are seeing now is how hard she worked in the gym,” Crowley said. “From a kid that couldn’t make a shot to a kid that we want taking shots.”

After shooting 1-for-4 from the free-throw line in a 51-46 loss to Richmond, Walker needed to find her stroke.

“I know I struggled down at Richmond,” said Walker. “Immediately after that, next day, I knew I had to get back in the gym and increase my percentage.”

Since her 25 percent shooting performance performance on January 16, Walker has connected on 15 of her last 17 free throws.

Along with Walker, freshman Katie Healy displayed glimpses of what is sure to be an exciting four seasons with the Brown and White with her offensive ability..

“It was great to see Katie deliver,” Crowley said. “And certainly she is capable of that.”

Healy finished with 14 points (an A-10 career high) and seven rebounds, while shooting a remarkable 75 percent from the field.

Slowly, but surely, the Bonnies are figuring out exactly who they are.

“At some point as players as teams, you just decide what you are going to be able to do,” said Crowley.  “And right now, our kids have made a decision to defend really well, to make the free throws and soon the shots will come.”

And after two straight victories, the Bonnies have decided they want to keep winning by doing the little things and aim to take down St. Joseph’s on Saturday.

phelanjc11@bonaventure.edu

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