By Cameron Hurst @CameronNHurst
Despite what could appear, from the surface, as a lopsided loss, St. Bonaventure women’s basketball head coach Jesse Fleming didn’t walk away from Tuesday night’s 57-35 defeat by Bucknell, completely disappointed.
In fact, the rookie head coach was, in his words, “relatively pleased” with his team’s effort against the Patriot League’s top team.
“I thought we did a pretty good job with our game plan,” Fleming said. “At the end of the day, we need to do a little bit better of a job out there, but their posts are pretty good players and [defending against them] was part of the game plan.”
However, after a team-high 12 points from Mariah Ruff, Fleming did admit his disappointment in the Bonnies offense.
“[We’ve] got to find someone who can make a couple shots for us,” said Fleming, also acknowledging the development of Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week Jalisha Terry, who, after scoring a career high 17 points against Stony Brook, only chipped in seven points on Tuesday night, shooting 2-of-13 from the field.
“[Terry] is going to be up and down as a freshman,” Fleming said. “But, with zero bench points, we’ve got to find a way to build confidence and get those kids going a little bit and figure that out.”
After an opening layup from Matea Britvar, the Bonnies would struggle to continue the hot first quarter starts that had been key for them over the course of the preceding three-game win streak. They were outscored by the Bison 14-6 during the first ten minutes of play.
However, in the second quarter, Ruff, as she has done so many times this season, took charge and accounted for all ten of the St. Bonaventure points, helping the Bonnies to cut the deficit to 23-16 heading into halftime.
The Bison would adjust during the second half. Despite a strong third and fourth quarter performance by Britvar, who contributed four of her 10 points on the night, the Bonnies would be outscored 34-12 to end the game.
Looking forward, however, Fleming was impressed with Britvar’s performance, expressing once again the need for a backup point-maker for Ruff.
“She was just ready to shoot,” said Fleming regarding Britvar. “We need that. We need another kid to be in double figure. We need someone else to step up so we can score again, but I love [Britvar’s] mentality in the second half especially, she’s a ready shooter.”
The Bonnies now hit the road for the first time since the Thanksgiving holiday. They will face off against Eastern Michigan at a special 11 a.m. Friday morning for “Education Day,” which will feature a crowd full of students from local Michigan schools.
Fleming will look to adjust and get his team ready to play, seemingly, a complete game against a 3-5 Eagles team that is coming off a 77-64 loss to Detroit Mercy.
Said Fleming, “We’re not putting together a forty minute game, and against a team like Bucknell that is going to the NCAA Tournament, that’s not going to do it for you.”