By Joseph Phelan, @JPhelan13
Katie Healy had six points in the first 38 minutes. Healy had six points in the final two minutes, including the basket with 19 seconds remaining to give the Bonnies a 62-60 win.
Healy, along with fellow sophomores Nyla Rueter and Emily Michael, hit big shots down the stretch to give St. Bonaventure its third conference win.
As the first game of a doubleheader, 938 showed up to cheer on the Bonnies.
The atmosphere definitely helped the Bonnies down the stretch. The Reilly Center erupted on the last five buckets of the game.
“I thought we won because of that,” said coach Jim Crowley. “Obviously we made plays, but there’s a certain energy that comes with people cheering for you.”
Michael’s triple put the Bonnies within three, Rueter’s jumper at the top of the key pulled the Bonnies within one and Healy’s three clutch baskets ultimately gave St. Bonaventure an important win.
“It’s certainly good to see them that they can do that,” said coach Crowley. “It’s not a surprise, they should — they’re good players.”
In a game where Saint Louis outplayed the Bonnies for much of the game, Bonaventure outplayed the Billikens in the final minutes.
“I thought late we finally kind of figured out and did some of the things we talked about—had a lot better pace with our offense,” said Crowley.
Saint Louis had a tough defensive challenge in trying to stop Healy. Healy missed one field goal attempt in Wednesday night’s win against La Salle.
Healy faced double teams, so St. Bonaventure used Gabrielle Richmond and Rueter to carry a bulk of the offense. Richmond had 14 and Rueter had a career-high 22.
But Healy had the ball in her hands for the final minutes, and she delivered.
“I think a lot of that came with the guards hitting big shots. They had to pay attention up there,” said Healy. “Coach said I wasn’t finishing towards the rim, so the final minutes of the game I tried to.”
Bonaventure struggled from three (4-18), but Michael’s only triple had been much needed. Michael is given space on offense because no team expects her to shoot. Her role has been written about before. She defends and runs the offense, but she shot seven field goals—only making one, but what a big shot it turned out to be.
“They have been playing off Emily (Michael) all game, which I’m sure she’s going to see some more, but she made them pay at the biggest moment,” said Crowley.
Three sophomores made crucial plays down the stretch. That’s the takeaway from yesterday’s win. Having players who can perform down the stretch can only be a plus for the Bonnies.
“I think knowing that having that faith that late in the game we can make stops and make plays is really good for us,” said Crowley. “And having multiple people make big shots is something that could be really good for us.”