photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu
By Dustyn Green
ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — It had been nearly nine months since head coach Jesse Fleming and the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team took the floor at the Reilly Center.
The Bonnies took care of business on Tuesday night with a 67-57 victory over Binghamton, despite giving Bearcats senior forward Kaylee Wasco 14 points in the opening half.
“I feel really good about us going forward,” Fleming said after the win. “Once we knew we could do it, I thought we played really well for a lot of stretches. We (made mistakes); we still have to trust exactly what we are trying to do.”
The Bonnies were able to come out of the gate strong and attacked the boards early in the first half, winning the rebounding battle 21-10 at halftime. By the final buzzer, SBU had 50 rebounds to Binghamton’s 33.
However, to start the second half, Fleming watched his players give up a 10-0 run to the Bearcats.
“I want to grade every possession on, ‘Hey did we play the way we wanted to play that possession’,” Fleming said. “I never sit there and say ‘here we go again.’ It is just about how can we get back to being us.”
Fleming thought his team needed to be “cleaner” defensively and in the post, but he likes what he has seen thus far.
Despite some struggles defensively and issues with the pace, the Bonnies impressed Fleming with 50 rebounds. Tori Harris, a redshirt junior guard who transferred to the program from James Madison, was instrumental in the win, racking up 10 boards to accompany 20 points. Junior guard Asianae Johnson followed right behind with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Deja Francis scored 13 points.
“Whenever I see a chance to go get a rebound I try to,” Harris said. “We always make it a big deal to rebound during practice. We talk about how last year, we didn’t focus on rebounding enough.”
Fleming stressed the importance of rebounding to his team’s success.
“We have no chance if we cannot rebound the ball,” Fleming said. “Today we went 4-for-15 from three and won the game because of the way we rebounded the basketball. I am thrilled about the rebounding.”
Bona improved to 1-1 with the win, while BU fell to 0-2 with the loss. The Bonnies will travel to Buffalo on Saturday, where they will take on the Bulls at 2 p.m.