photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu
By Jeff Uveino
Deja Francis had a breakout freshman season in 2018-19.
She burst on to the St. Bonaventure scene by starting 27 games and playing nearly 30 minutes per game for the women’s basketball team.
Her efforts earned her a spot on the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team.
Now, entering her sophomore year, Francis is committed to taking a new-look Bonnies team in the right direction.
Francis averaged 9.4 points per game and 3.5 assists per game a season ago, and her 104 total assists were good enough for fourth in the A10.
Francis’ ability to distribute the ball, as well as score points, makes her a dangerous offensive player.
“Assists have always been a big part of my game, even before college,” Francis said. “I want to be at least top five in the league in assists again this year, and I have a lot of good players around me which will help me accomplish that.”
The Bonnies struggled to win games a year ago, finishing 8-22.
Francis said that head coach Jesse Fleming has implemented some changes that will help take the team in the right direction.
“He’s changing a lot of the offense,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot more freedom for us to move on the court, so hopefully that will help us win games.”
The offensive game plan isn’t the only change coming to this year’s Bona squad.
The Bonnies have seven new players on their roster, and a handful of players in their second season with the program.
“This group came together for a week in the summer and automatically clicked,” Francis said. “We’ve got a lot of good pieces, so even if I’m not used as much as I was last year, I’m okay with that because we have a lot of good players.”
Another thing to note about Francis’ freshman campaign was that her statistics improved during A10 play.
She averaged 10.1 points per game and 4.4 assists per game against A10 opponents.
“It’s go time when it gets to A10 play,” Francis said. “It’s not that I see it as more of a challenge, I just feel that that’s when it’s time for me to step it up.
“I’m already on the radar, so I’m just looking to improve in every way that I can.”
The Bonnies open their regular season on Tuesday when they host St. John’s University at 5 p.m.