(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Cameron Hurst @CameronNHurst
After a rocky three-game losing streak, the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team flew on all cylinders in a 67-59 victory over Albany on Sunday afternoon at the Reilly Center.
“I thought [Sunday] was the most complete game that we’ve played so far this year,” said head coach Jesse Fleming. “Start to finish, I thought we competed. I thought we mixed it up. I thought we played with a really hard, tough kind of effort level. I’m proud of the way they played …. We needed this one.”
Leading the way for the Bonnies, like she has done most of the season, was junior Mariah Ruff, who chipped in 16 points and six assists. After seeing her team struggle over the last two games, outscored 149-106 by Eastern Michigan and Toledo combined, Ruff was pleased that the Bonnies were able to put together a solid victory over a strong Albany team.
“Nobody was really selfish,” said Ruff, noting the team’s 17 total assists. “It felt like we were really connected. Knocking down shots is a good thing.”
The Bonnies also received very strong play off the bench from Mckenna Maycock, who contributed 13 points and four assists to the win.
“[Maycock] had a couple great practices,” Fleming said. “She played a nice floor game and she guarded and rebounded like she always does.”
“As a team, we had so many great practices coming in and I think that helps us be more connected overall,” Maycock said. “Every single person did a great job today. I think that’s why [her performance] happened.”
The Great Danes came into Sunday’s matchup having played the past four games without their leading scorer, senior guard Imani Tate, who had been out due to a foot injury. Nevertheless, the Bonnies spent the week practicing in preparation for Tate, who would wind up playing in Sunday’s game, scoring 16 points in 25 minutes on the floor.
“We treated it all week like [Tate] was going to be there,” said Fleming on the Bonnies’ game plan. “She was on the board in the locker room as a starter. When we went through their stuff, all week, it was all about her. She’s just a good player. We tried to get her when I was at Stony Brook and she was an excellent player in high school.”
The Bonnies now move forward to one of their toughest tests of the season, facing off against Big 4 rival Buffalo, who are 8-0 after defeating Canisius 65-52 on Dec. 8.
“We can be as good as we want to be,” said Fleming. “[The victory over Albany] shows. We can always guard. If we’re confident and we can shoot it, I think we’re a tough out.
“We can do it. It’s just what our mentality and what our preparation will be this week.”