(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Cameron Hurst @CameronNHurst
Heading into the UCF Thanksgiving Classic, the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team were looking for a way to turnaround their season.
After back-to-back losses to Canisius and Delaware, the Bonnies made the Thanksgiving break trip to Orlando, Fl. and managed to flip the script on their 1-3 start by winning back-to-back games against Austin Peay and Rider.
On Saturday against the Governors, the Bonnies forged an impressive effort, outscoring Austin Peay 22-7 in the first quarter and setting them on a pace that saw them never relinquish the lead during the rest of the game. The Bonnies were once again led by junior guard Mariah Ruff, who scored 18 points. They also received a significant defensive contribution from freshman Sarah Hart, who hauled in 10 rebounds en route to holding off the Governors, 58-57.
With confidence restored after their first win since the home opener at Colgate, the Bonnies then faced off against Rider on Sunday afternoon and, after outscoring the Broncs 17-7 in the first quarter, would hold off several runs and cruise to a 60-47 victory. Ruff led the charge once again, contributing 19 points, while Matea Britvar, playing in her hometown of Orlando, grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Bonnies seem to have found the formula that will yield the greatest possible outcome, with a new starting lineup of Hart, Britvar, Ruff, Jalisha Terry, and Gabby Richmond.
Terry especially has shone since taking over as starting point guard, putting up a combined 24 points during the two-day tournament. And, while she is now coming off the bench in a sixth-woman role, Mckenna Maycock saw a valuable 29 minutes in the Rider matchup that helped her produce a tied-season high 10 points and a 3-for-5 afternoon from the field.
Coach Jesse Fleming certainly had a lot of “thanks” to give during the holiday break considering his team’s dynamic performance. However, the Bonnies and their head coach now will look toward a Wednesday night matchup with a 2-3 Stony Brook team. The Seawolves, who began the season 0-3, have won two straight, with nail-biter victories against Columbia (55-53) and Manhattan (55-50).
For Stony Brook, led by third-year head coach Caroline McCombs, it has seemingly been a pair of different players leading the team each night. The Columbia victory came courtesy of 15 points from both Lauren Williams and Kori Bayne-Walker. Against Manhattan, the Seawolves received significant contributions from Aaliyah Worley, who chipped in 13 points, as well as Elizabeth Manner, who put up 11.
The Bonnies are hopeful that their starting combination, as well as the strong bench rotation, will be enough to hold off Stony Brook and help them extend their winning streak to three. With two confidence-boosting victories over the weekend, the Bonnies should be in good shape as they take on their inter-state opponent at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Reilly Center.