By Joseph Phelan, @jphelan13
For the fifth straight year, St. Bonaventure opened up the season with an exhibition win over Edinboro.
St. Bonaventure held a 28-14 halftime lead, and led by as many as 16 in the second half, but Edinboro made things difficult for the Bonnies, and at one point trailed by four points.
But St. Bonaventure closed the game on a 13-7 run to win 61-51.
“I thought this was exactly what we needed. Right now for some reason we kind of struggle when things aren’t going our way, and we had that in the second half,” said head coach Jim Crowley. “Some of that was us, some of that was Edinboro, but I thought that was really good for us to kind of rally together, lock in and get the ball where it needed to go and make the plays we needed to make.”
Nyla Rueter helped make plays happen down the stretch. Rueter scored all 10 of her points in the final 10:30 of the game.
“I realized that we needed stops,” said the junior guard. “I was trying to attack and see what I could do.”
The defense had been remarkable for the Bonnies in the first half. Edinboro had nearly every shot contested by a white jersey as they shot nearly 24 percent from the field in the first half.
The defensive effort, however, fell flat in the second half.
“We know how hard we have to play all the time,” said junior Katie Healy. “We played great defense in the first half, for the most part, and then we got tired or we stopped doing what we do and we saw that, so now we get what we have to do.”
Edinboro’s Lauren Hippo and Laurel Lindsay kept the Fighting Scotts in the game. Hippo finished with 25 points, while shooting 81 percent from the field. Lindsay had 18 points, but on three field goals. Hippo hit a couple wide-open threes, while Lindsay hit 10 for 11 from the free throw line.
“(Hippo) is really good at shooting the 3, and we let her,” said Crowley. “(Lindsay) is a kid who is a fifth year player who is a really, really good player and we let her get comfortable from the foul line after shutting her out in the first half.”
The second half breakdowns on defense can be fixed, but Crowley was pleased with how well St. Bonaventure performed on defense in the first twenty minutes.
“I was really pleased to see us to understand our defensive concepts in the first half, and the energy and excitement we got doing that, so that was good,” said Crowley. “Now it’s on us at coaches, but more importantly it’s on the players, do we hold ourselves to that standard more consistently.”
Healy led all Bonaventure scorers with 15 points. Although she committed five turnovers, Healy had six steals. The Bonnies forced 21 turnovers, and Edinboro finished the game with a 34.9 shooting percentage.
The Bonnies open regular season play at home against Canisius on Friday night, and Crowley believe his team has some identity.
“I think we have a pretty good gage where we are. I hope these guys do. If we’re doing our job then they should as well,” said Crowley. “Now it’s about fine-tuning some things. There’s nothing new coming, we just have to fine tune what we got.”