(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Cameron Hurst @CameronNHurst
Prior to her 0-for-8 performance on Sunday afternoon, Mariah Ruff had only gone scoreless four times in her three-year career at St. Bonaventure.
The last time Ruff had gone scoreless? January 14, 2015 at George Mason, in a 68-55 defeat.
63 games later, the Oneonta native failed to record a single point as the Bonnies lost 60-44 to the Atlantic 10’s only remaining undefeated team in the Fordham Rams.
Ruff’s struggles only served as a fraction of the issues that faced St. Bonaventure, as the Bonnies collectively shot 10-for-25 from the field and made only one of three attempted shots from beyond the arc.
“I’m just disappointed,” said head coach Jesse Fleming following the defeat, which now puts the Bonnies at 5-11 on the season and 1-5 in the conference.
Added Fleming: “I thought we had a really good first half, a really good first 16-17 minutes. I really thought this was one we could get. We did a lot of good things. But, we can’t score the ball right now and you can try and beg the kids to defend and defend, but eventually you’ve gotta get a way to get the ball in the basket.”
The Bonnies began the game strong defensively, as they held Fordham to just seven points in the first half alone. However, the Rams would find their groove, thanks to three first half trey’s from Danielle Burns, who finished with 16, as they outscored St. Bonaventure 19-12 in the second half.
The Rams pulled away in the second half as sophomore Lauren Holden contributed 15 second half points to help seal their sixth conference victory of the season.
With the Bonnies’ fifth straight loss noted, there is growing concern with Ruff’s recent play. The junior only scored 14 total points in matchups with Richmond and St. Louis, which both came following her last second, game-winning three-point attempt against Dayton that went in and out of the rim on Jan. 3.
Fleming, in particular, was concerned following the game with Ruff’s recent offensive slump.
“I’ve got to find a better way to get her some easy ones early,” said Fleming on Ruff’s recent slide, citing defensive face-guards on her as part of the reason for her struggles.
“The looks are a little different. She’s passing well … I just thought she was fading for a little bit at the basket at the start of the game. We’ve got to figure it out with her, because if she can’t score, we struggle to score.”
Additionally, freshmen Jalisha Terry and Sarah Hart also struggled to perform offensively during Sunday’s matchup. Despite their 10 and 8 point performances, respectively, the standout freshmen shot a combined 1-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc, showing hesitation with each attempt.
“It’s shots I want,” said Fleming on the evident hesitation by Terry and Hart. “I thought they were all in rhythm. I did like their looks. We just got to keep drilling it and drilling it and getting their confidence up a bit, because everyone has a little hesitation offensively. I just think everybody is a little tight shooting the ball right now.”
The Bonnies will now look to move ahead from Sunday’s loss with a date against UMass on Thursday at 11 a.m. in Amherst. For a successful performance in the conference desired, it is no secret that offensive production will be a stressed point for Fleming and his team moving forward.
“These teams in this league have too much firepower that you’re going to give up some baskets, you’re going to give up some scores,” Fleming said. “We’ve just got to find a way to match that.”