By Cameron Hurst @CameronNHurst
It’s no secret that the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team is riding a hot streak right now.
After a victory over Stony Brook and preceding wins against a strong Austin Peay team and Rider, the Bonnies are now looking to extend their winning streak to four heading into Tuesday’s home matchup with Bucknell at 7 p.m.
Here are three storylines heading into this evening’s game:
No tie? No problem: Toward the end of Wednesday’s post game press conference, a media member noted that Bonnies coach Jesse Fleming had gone tieless during the victory over Stony Brook.
“We didn’t wear a tie in Florida, so we’re going to keep with that for a while,” remarked Fleming, noting the back-to-back wins in the UCF Thanksgiving Classic.
Now, the season is young and Fleming going without a tie may not exactly turn out to be LeBron James going without a headband. However, it has correlated nicely with the Bonnies three-game winning streak, placing them at 4-3 and helping Fleming tie Mary Jane Telford for the best start to a coaching tenure in program history. To give an example of this precedence, previous head coach Jim Crowley, despite starting off his own season at Providence at 7-1, began his Bonnies coaching career at 2-5 in 2000-2001.
Now, Fleming prepares to face a Bucknell team projected to finish first in the Patriot League. Fleming should be familiar with the Bison, having faced off against them as an assistant under Crowley in 2007 and helping lead the Bonnies to a 61-55 win. Current assistant coach Andrea Mulcahy played in that game, chipping in 13 points with six rebounds and four assists.
The Bonnies are hoping that the presence of Mulcahy and now-head coach Fleming, who will most likely continue the “no tie” streak, will help continue the Bonnies’ streak of their own.
Establishment of defense early: During this three-game winning streak the Bonnies have excelled in establishing an early defense.
Against Austin Peay, the Bonnies outdid themselves, outscoring the Governors 22-7 en route to their 58-57 victory.
However, the Bonnies defense might have proven their best defensive effort last Wednesday, shutting out the Stony Brook Seawolves 10-0 in the first quarter. St. Bonaventure’s shutout of their interstate rival is the second-longest of its kind this season in women’s college basketball, behind Alabama’s shutout of Lipscomb through the first 17:32 of their matchup on November 17.
The Bonnies defense, though proving powerful right now, has struggled defending the three-ball and will need to stifle the Bison combination of Katie Walker, who is shooting 11-of-24 from beyond the arc, and Kaitlyn Slagus, who is shooting a respectable 16-of-38.
The Bonnies will look to get ahead early using their defense. If they can do so, they certainly have a good chance at victory against this strong Bucknell team.
JT: Jalisha Terry has made all the difference for the Bonnies during this hot streak.
Prior to the Bonnies heading to Delaware, I wrote about how there was a need for someone to back up Mariah Ruff, who can only do so much. With Terry able to help Ruff run the offense, there is pressure taken off of Ruff to do so, giving the Bonnies the ability to become more expendable with opportunities not only for Terry to score, but for Matea Britvar, Mckenna Maycock, and Gabby Richmond to see more valuable minutes as well.
Terry’s impressive play, chiefly her young career high of 17 points during the victory against Stony Brook, led to her selection as the A-10’s Rookie of the Week, which could be the first of many honors to come the freshman guard’s way.