(Photo Credit: Cameron Hurst)
By Cameron Hurst @CameronNHurst
It’s been a long time since the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team was defeated at home by the Canisius Golden Griffins.
In fact, until their 74-57 victory over the Bonnies on Wednesday night, the Golden Griffins had only won one game at the Reilly Center since 1995.
“I’ve gotta figure something out,” said Bonnies head coach Jesse Fleming after the Bonnies second defeat of the year, which saw his team turn the ball over 13 times and shoot 21-of-60 from the field.
“It’s not shocking to see this performance,” Fleming continued. “We’re not defending like we need to be defending, we’re not moving the ball the way we should be and it’s on me. I’ve got to figure out a way to get this. I’ve got to make some changes of some lineups and things like that and we’ve got to get this thing figured out really quick.”
The Bonnies found themselves down early in the first quarter. After an opening lay-in by Mckenna Maycock, the Griffins would go on to score seven straight points, capped by a three-pointer from Saliah Serrette, the first of ten three-pointers from Canisius.
“I thought the game was kind of over after the first quarter,” Fleming said. “They came out tougher than us, with more energy than us, and that’s really disheartening as a coach to see your team get out-competed like that.”
The Bonnies struggled to find an offensive rhythm during the rest of the first half, primarily due to the absence of Mariah Ruff, who found herself with two quick fouls in the first quarter. The Griffins, however, did not let up during that time. Thanks to contributions by Lauren D’Hont, who finished with 15 points, as well as Margret Halfdanardottir and Maria Welch, who both scored 14, they would head into halftime with a 32-18 lead.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to get one more person off of our bench going in those scenarios,” Fleming said regarding Ruff’s absence during the half. “At the end of the day, I’ll start playing (Ruff) a little more with two fouls, but she’s somebody we expect to come in and score for us, and when you miss her for twelve minutes in the first half, you’re going to struggle.”
Ruff came out of the half hot, however, scoring eight points in under three minutes. Her presence on the floor would ultimately catapult the Bonnies on a run during the second half that saw their deficit shrink to five at the beginning of the third quarter.
However, the Bonnies would not be able to complete the comeback after four consecutive three-pointers from Halfdanardottir, Welch, and Serrette, and the Golden Griffins would outscore St. Bonaventure 23-19 during the last nine minutes of the game.
A key moment during that stretch included back-to-back out of bounds plays that both led to wide open three-point scores by Halfdanardottir after the Bonnies failed to line up defensively due to quick starts by the referees. Up until the point, the Bonnies had controlled most of the momentum in the fourth quarter.
“That will never happen again,” said Fleming regarding the failure by the Bonnies to be ready for both plays. “That was absolutely the game. I couldn’t believe that happened and it’s a little on me. I’m screaming at the officials (over controversial foul calls in the fourth quarter), but I’ve got to get the kids lined up and forget about that other stuff. It’s really disheartening.”
The Bonnies were led by impressive offensive performances, not only by Ruff, but chiefly by Gabby Richmond, who finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
“She came back strong,” Fleming said. “Gabby tends to make a defensive mistake or two, but finally she gets going and she needs to get going a little earlier. I was thrilled with her response to come back … We need to see that everyday out of her.”
The Bonnies now look ahead to a meeting in Delaware against the Blue Hens on Saturday at 8 p.m. before the University of Central Florida Thanksgiving Tournament in Orlando, with dates set with Austin Peay and Rider on Nov. 26 and 27. And, according to their head coach, it seems as though there will be some adjustments moving forward.
“We’ve just gotta get more consistency,” Fleming said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to get this team all on the same page and that’s my job to do.”