Bona women fall to Dayton at home

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team had another opportunity to return to the win column after missing its first chance at home on Friday night, but Dayton denied their upset bid. 

Falling behind early, the SBU (2-10,1-8) suffered its second-consecutive home defeat in a 68-51 loss to the Flyers (7-1,6-0) at the Reilly Center Sunday afternoon.  

In the first quarter, the Bonnies struggled to find the basket and did not score any points until freshman Maddie Dziezgowski drained a three with 5:18 remaining in the period. The Flyers built a 17-9 lead as seven different players scored in the quarter.  

“We played really poorly to start the game,” Bona head coach Jesse Fleming said. “We were still kind of in our Saint Louis malaise.” 

The Flyers expanded their lead, this time attacking from behind the three-point line, where they shot 80% in the second quarter and took a 40-27 lead into the break. Deja Francis had a big second quarter for Bona, shooting 4-for-4 from the field while scoring nine of her 13 points for the game. Francis missed the team’s previous game against Saint Louis.

“With (Francis), it’s just about consistency,” Fleming said. “Hopefully this was another step for her to get her confidence back, and probably had her best half of the season.” 

After a quiet first half with only two points for the Bonnies, leading scorer Asianae Johnson led a Bona’s rally that cut the Dayton lead. The Bona defense tightened up, however, only allowing seven points and drawing two charges in the quarter. 

“I thought we showed some maturity by really battling back,” Fleming said. “We had some good energy in the third quarter.” 

In the third quarter, Johnson had four points (including a layup that cut the deficit to six), two assists and three rebounds. She finished the game with 12 points and drew two charges. 

“It says a lot, as far as having some grit,” Fleming said. “Instead of pointing fingers, she really did show some grit.” 

With the score siting at 47-40 in favor of the Flyers, Jenna Giacone led a quick 9-0 spurt from Dayton to extend the lead. Giacone had nine points in the final quarter and led all scorers with 20 points in the game. 

“I give them credit,” Fleming said. “Giacone had a great game and hit some big shots when we closed it to single digits.  

In a sloppy game, the Bonnies forced 22 Dayton turnovers, but also turned the ball over 18 times on their end.  

The Flyers out-rebounded the Bonnies, 42-22, and secured 14 offensive rebounds to just five from Bona. Flyers’ guard Araion Bradshaw had 11 rebounds, while forward Kyla Whitehead had seven rebounds, five coming on the offensive end.  

“I thought it was a step in the right direction as far as getting us back to that competitive level that we were earlier in the year,” Fleming said. 

The Bonnies have a week off until they host Duquesne at the Reilly Center on Sunday at noon. That game can be seen on ESPN+. 

Bonnies cruise past George Mason; continue best A-10 start in program history

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — As the calendar turns to the next month, the Bonnies will enter without a loss in the month of January. 

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team (9-1,7-1) clinched this perfect stretch by cruising to an 84-67 win over George Mason (8-7,4-5) at the Reilly Center Saturday afternoon.  

The Bonnies raced out to a 11-3 lead, which swelled to a 19-5 difference after Bona guard Dominick Welch made a driving layup. The lead would grow to as much as 20 before halftime. 

“I was going with the flow of the game,” Welch said. “I was feeling good today.” 

After not making a shot a week ago against Duquesne, Welch exploded in the first half, going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and tallying 18 points.  

“I think Dom goes under the radar a little bit, but he’s a heck of a player,” Bonas head coach Mark Schmidt said. “When Dom plays with confidence, and is rebounding the basketball and shooting the basketball, we’re that much better a team.” 

After taking a 44-26 lead into halftime, Bona’s kept the Patriots at a distance for most of the second half. The three-point shooting of George Mason guards Jordan Miller and Tyler Kolek energized a few spurts for the Patriots, as they shot a combined 5-for-9 from three in the second half. Miller led the Patriots with 19 points in the game and Kolek finished with 17 points.

“I think we relaxed a bit and they got some penetration,” Schmidt said. “We allowed too much dribble penetration, and that’s something we need to work on.” 

Despite the shooting of George Mason, the Bonnies earned their lead and held onto it because of their performance in the paint. Bona center Osun Osunniyi posted his second double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points and 15 rebounds. The Bonnies led the Patriots in points in the paint, 48-24, and also in rebounding, 38-27.  

“(Osunniyi) was aggressive. He was much stronger, much more assertive,” Schmidt said. “We need him to do that, we need an inside presence so it takes some pressure off of our perimeter players.”

In addition to the performances of Welch and Osunniyi, junior guards Kyle Lofton and Jaren Holmes added 20 points and 14 points, respectively.  

For the third-consecutive game, the Bonnies defeated an opponent they were not originally slated to play. At the beginning of the week, Bona’s was scheduled to travel to Davidson, but COVID-19 issues within the Wildcats’ called for a postponement of the matchup.  

“We’re lucky to have a veteran team that understands, that can turn the page,” Schmidt said. “It’s been a challenge.” 

Nonetheless, the Bonnies have fought through a shortened schedule and managed the continuing carousel of postponements and cancellations within their conference. The win against George Mason is their seventh straight and gives the them their best A-10 start in program history.  

 “Bonaventure basketball has rich tradition, and great teams and great coaches,” Schmidt said. “It’s something you can look back on and appreciate.” 

Next up for Bonnies is a road trip to Saint Joseph’s. The Bonnies beat the Hawks, 83-57, earlier this season, and will look to continue their successful start. 

“I think we have a really close team, I think the guys really like each other,” Schmidt said. “If you’re tight off the court and you have good relationships off the court, you’re gonna have good relationships on [the court].” 

Bona women drop pair of games at Fordham, Rhode Island

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By Nic Gelyon and Dustyn Green

The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team played back-to-back road games this weekend, and it wasn’t handed any favors. 

The team, led by head coach Jesse Fleming, played two conference matchups in a span of 24 hours, the first on Friday against then 4-2 Fordham, and the other Saturday against 4-2 Rhode Island.  Both games ended in disappointing fashion for the Bonnies, a team that was looking to build on its momentum from a home victory over La Salle on Jan. 15. Instead, SBU lost by 19 points to Fordham and by 14 points to Rhode Island. 

The Bonnies led just over two minutes combined between the two weekend games, both by an early 2-0 score.

Despite double-digit scoring efforts from senior Emily Calabrese, who had 11 points against Fordham, and sophomore I’yonna Lops, who tallied 14 points in Kingston. Bona continued to struggle behind the three-point line, shooting under 25% from there in both games.  

The Bonnies did not lack in toughness or physicality in either game, and they were successful in forcing and creating success off Fordham’s mistakes, including six steals and 12 turnovers. Throughout the game, the Bonnies were not able to keep up with Fordham’s attack on the inside giving up 21 second chance points to the Rams. However, Bona scored 22 points in the paint and nine more points off turnovers. 

The Bonnies also were unable to shut Fordham down from three-point range, allowing the Rams to go 13-for-30, but Bona hurt itself by not being able to hit from long range, going 2-for-10 from deep on offense.  

The Fordham halftime lead was only 12 points, despite being able to knock down seven three-pointers in the first half. The Bonnies could only answer one of those, which allowed the Rams to expand their lead. 

Both teams scored the ball at about the same clip, but it was clear that Fordham’s ball-sharing opened up its opportunities from deep, as they paired their three-point shooting numbers with 18 assists, compared to St. Bonaventure’s seven. The Bonnies were out-rebounded by the Rams, 26-20. 

Against Rhode Island, the Bonnies dug themselves a hole early, as SBU unsuccessfully tried to create offense from the perimeter. The first quarter didn’t see either team shoot particularly well, but by the time the clock hit zero, the Rams had hit 11 three-point baskets. 

A 12-3 run early in the second quarter allowed the Bonnies to cut the Rams’ lead to four points, with Olivia Brown on the court for the entirety of the run. The Bonnies played physical, disrupting Rhode Island at seemingly every turn, including a block by Tori Harris and a forced turnover that led to a Harris three-pointer. Once again, however, the well ran dry for St. Bonaventure, and the half ended with the Rams up by eight points. 

The Bonnies were able to keep their deficit manageable, until the missed shots and 11 turnovers became too much to overcome. Despite giving up 34 points in the paint and 11 points off of turnovers the Rams never let up the reins, as the teams traded baskets down the stretch, but the Bonnies found the deficit to large and fell against the Rams 76-60. 

The Bonnies will now return home for three games, starting with a Friday night slate against Saint Louis on Friday. You can catch the game next Friday at 6 p.m., on ESPN+ 

Bonnies beat Duquesne for second time

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

PITTSBURGH, PA — Playing tough and winning as a unit, Mark Schmidt and the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team are now off to a historic start.  

Achieving this mark was no easy task, rather it required an emotional and physical slugfest against SBU’s long-time Atlantic 10 rival, Duquesne. The Bonnies beat the Dukes for the second time this season, however, knocking off Duquesne, 65-61, at La Roche University.

The Bonnies overcame an early 12-4 deficit to take the lead, which grew to as many as 10 points when junior guard Dominick Welch hit a free throw to put the Bonnies up 29-19. In the last three minutes of the half though, the Dukes stormed back to take a 32-31 lead into the break. After a back-and-forth second half, Duquesne senior center Michael Hughes tied the game at 55-55 with 3:29 left.

Then, Jalen Adaway took control. 

“He played really well for us,” said Schmidt, SBU’s head coach, of Adaway. “We wouldn’t have won without him.” 

Adaway finished the game with a double-double, earning 12 points and 10 rebounds along with two blocks coming off the bench. Left out of the starting lineup due to a non-COVID-19 related illness, the junior forward asserted himself with a crucial and-one basket that put the Bonnies up 58-55 after the made foul shot.  

On the next possession, Adaway soared above the Dukes for a put-back flush off of a Kyle Lofton miss, igniting the St. Bonaventure bench and leaving Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot and the Dukes in disbelief. Adaway proceeded to block two shots and sank three foul shots in the last 90 seconds to push the Bonnies to their seventh-consecutive A-10 win.

“We just knew it was crunch time, and I just tried to do what I could to help us come out with the win,” Adaway said. “Whether it was grabbing a couple of rebounds or making those foul shots, I just wanted to win, we all just wanted to win, so I tried to do whatever it took.” 

The heroics of Adaway were key, but the contributions of other Bonnies were essential, as well. Kyle Lofton led the scoring with 17 points, while Welch continued his hot shooting from Wednesday night’s, win going 3-for-5 from three-point range and finishing with 14 points. Jalen Shaw also saw big minutes after starting forward/center Osun Osunniyi found himself in early foul trouble, contributing seven points in 16 minutes.  

“We have an amazing group of guys, and our chemistry is through the roof,” Adaway said. “I’m so blessed to be a part of such a group, you know, with our coaching staff and our program as a whole.” 

Only shooting 39.6% from the field and turning the ball over fifteen times, the Bonnies found an edge on the boards with a 42-35 advantage in rebounds, and shot 18-of-25 from the foul line compared to 12-of-16 from Duquesne.

“Hopefully, our offense gets going, our shooting gets going, but you still win,” Schmidt said. “The staple of any good program is defense and rebounding and that’s what we’ve been doing so far.” 

Tavian Dunn-Martin led the Dukes with 18 points, including 3-for-6 shooting from three, and Michael Hughes added 15 points, going 7-for-11 from the field. Marcus Weathers finished with 10 points on 3-for-9 shooting, while all other players for Duquesne were held to single-digit scoring. 

With their second loss to the Bonnies, Duquesne now falls to 4-6 overall and 3-5 in conference play. 

Bona’s streak now grows to six straight wins for the Bonnies in A-10 play, now siting at 8-1 overall (best start since 2000-01) and 6-1 in the A-10 (best start since 1982-83). St. Bonaventure’s lead in the A-10 is now a full game ahead of UMass and Davidson, the latter of which the Bonnies will face next Saturday on the road.  

“It wasn’t a pretty game on either end for both teams,” Schmidt said. “But we found a way to win and that shows a lot of character, it shows a lot of competitiveness.” 

PREVIEW: Bonnies prep for rematch vs. Duquesne; seek sixth-straight A-10 win

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — “We’re not satisfied, we’re not comfortable. We can’t stop working.” 

Mark Schmidt has the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team focused on turning the page after an incredible performance on Wednesday night. SBU used a 31-point swing in the second half to calm the havoc presented by the VCU Rams, and beat them to grab sole possession of first place in the A-10.

After beating VCU, the Bonnies were slated for a prime-time showdown with nationally ranked Saint Louis, but for the second time this week, their opponent has changed due to COVID-19. Instead of the Billikens, the Bonnies get a rematch with Duquesne.  

In their first matchup, the Bonnies navigated an ugly first half to pull away from the Dukes in a 62-48 win at the Reilly Center just a week ago. With the rematch arriving sooner than expected, both squads will have a fresh memory of last week’s game.

“We know what they present,” said Schmidt, SBU’s head coach. “Now it’s, ‘Can we defend what they’re gonna do against us.’” 

Duquesne will be coming off its own dramatic comeback win, as the Dukes overcame a 17-point deficit against Rhode Island on Wednesday night. In a season overshadowed by unusual circumstances, Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot has kept the Dukes competitive despite unexpected departures and the lack of having their home gym at the moment. 

“I’ve got all the respect in the world for him,” Schmidt said. “They are competitive guys and (Dambrot) is getting the most out of them and we are expecting a really difficult game.” 

The challenge starts inside for St. Bonaventure. Duquesne senior forward Marcus Weathers remains the main threat down low, putting up 12 points and nine rebounds in his first game against Bona this season. Senior center Michael Hughes led the Dukes in scoring in the fist game with 14 points. 

“They present a lot of problems with their inside game,” Schmidt said. “Weathers and Hughes are horses inside.” 

Senior guard Tavian Dunn-Martin had a quiet outing last week against St. Bonaventure, but exploded for 25 points at home last season against the Bonnies. Dunn-Martin hit seven threes in an 83-80 loss for the Dukes in a game that was played at Robert Morris last February.  

“Every time we play down there, it seems like he has career night,” Schmidt said. 

The Bonnies had a rough shooting night in the previous matchup, including a dismal 2-16 from three, but dominated the Dukes at the foul line by going 20-27 compared to 3-9 from Duquesne.  

“I’m proud of what we’ve done so far,” Schmidt said. “But we’ve got a long way to go.” 

The game, which will be played at La Roche University, will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN+.  

Superb second half leads Bona to comeback victory over VCU

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — VCU went into halftime with a 15-point lead. After that, the Rams never looked the same.

After being out-played by the Rams on both ends of the floor in the first half, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team used two big runs in the second half to beat VCU, 70-54, at the Reilly Center on Wednesday night.

Bona opened the second stanza on a 20-3 run that was capped with three-consecutive dunks, two of which were accompanied by a defensive foul. Jalen Adaway drove to the rim and dunked over a VCU defender while drawing a foul before Osun Osunniyi did the same. Osunniyi then got another dunk off of a lob pass, which seemingly gave Bona the entirety of the game’s momentum.

After the Rams battled back midway through the half, SBU ended the game on a 19-3 run that spanned over 11 minutes of game time.

“The game was, ‘Who’s going to own the paint?’ In the first half, they owned the paint,” Bona head coach Mark Schmidt said. “They kept the ball downhill, they were killing us on the back board, we didn’t do a good job against their press… As a coach, you just challenge the guys, and if you have character guys, guys that are competitors, they’re going to respond.”

Jaren Holmes scored 18 points and pulled down nine rebounds for Bona, which improved its play on the glass late in the game after being out-rebounded 28-15 by the Rams in the first half. Bona out-rebounded the Rams 22-14 in the second half, however, and only allowed four offensive rebounds in the second frame after giving up 13 of them in the first.

“The most important minutes (of the second half) were the first five minutes,” Schmidt said. “The first 10 possessions. We couldn’t have played better offensively or defensively in the second half. To hold that team to 14 points and the percentage that they shot, it’s a credit to our guys.”

The Bonnies held the Rams to 14 points on 19% shooting from the field in the second half, while shooting nearly 56% from the field and 50% from three-point range themselves. Bona ended up shooting 42% from the field in the game, while VCU shot just 32%.

“Since I’ve been here as a coach, in my opinion, that’s the best half we’ve played both offensively and defensively,” Schmidt said. “We took care of the ball and ran some stuff that was effective, but in essence it came down to, we started going downhill and we stopped them from going downhill.”

Dominick Welch, who had been held to zero points in SBU’s last game (a win over Duquesne), scored a game-high 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field, including 5-for-6 from three-point range. Kyle Lofton scored 12 points for the Bonnies, while Jalen Adaway scored nine points and Osun Osunniyi scored nine points to go with nine rebounds.

“I felt that we weren’t playing aggressively enough in the first half, but we always emphasize defense in practice, and I think that defense and rebounding played a big role in letting our offense (come back),” Welch said. “We really wanted to stick to getting stops and cutting that lead down before the first media (timeout).”

Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, who scored a team-high 16 points for the Rams, was held to 1-of-7 shooting for three points in the second half. Vince Williams Jr. scored 11 points for the Rams, while Levi Stockard III and Hason Ward each added eight points.

This was just VCU’s second lost in Atlantic 10 play, as the Rams fell to 3-2 in the league and 10-4 overall.

“We have competitive guys, and I think they were a little embarrassed by how they played in the first half,” Schmidt said. “And they responded. The first tv timeout was critical for us to get some momentum, and we did that.”

This marked Bona’s fifth-straight A-10 win, as the Bonnies improved to 5-1 in the league and 7-1 overall. SBU’s schedule continues to shuffle, as an upcoming Saturday-night road trip to Saint Louis was canceled and replaced by a trip to La Roche University, where the Bonnies will play Duquesne for the second time in eight days.

SBU won its first matchup over the Dukes, 62-48, last Friday at the RC. Bona’s win over VCU gives it sole possession of first place in the A-10, breaking a tie with UMass, which also went into Wednesday night at 4-1 in conference play.

“This is a very good team that we played tonight, and it just shows the will that we have as a team and the chemistry that we’re building together,” Welch said. “It feels like these wins are really different. A step in the right direction.”

PREVIEW: First-place Bonnies prepare to host “powerhouse” VCU

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY – After a week that showcased its poise and experience, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team has proven itself as a top-level team in the Atlantic 10.  

The Bonnies took care of business against Fordham last Wednesday and handled Duquesne on Friday. Now, tied atop the A-10 with UMass, there are murmurings of a possible tournament bid or a regular season championship for the Bonnies given their position in the standings.

Bona head coach Mark Schmidt knows the idea of any future achievements starts with his team winning its lone home game this week.  

“Home games are most important,” Schmidt said. “If you want to compete for a title, you gotta protect your home court.” 

The Bonnies will look to do just that against VCU on Wednesday. The Bonnies were originally slated for a rematch against Richmond in the Reilly Center on that day, but that game was postponed due to COVID-19 fears within the Spiders’ program, leaving SBU to face the Rams instead.  

VCU, coming in at 10-3, flexes one of the stingier defenses in college basketball. VCU is second in the nation in steals per game, averaging 11.5 on the season. Freshman guard Adrian Baldwin Jr and sophomore guard Na’Shon “Bones” Hyland sit at a tie for second in the conference with 2.2 steals per game, and sophomore guard Jimmy Clark III averages 1.9 steals per game.  

“If they steal the ball, live ball turnovers kill you against VCU,” Schmidt said. “So, we got to protect the ball.”  

The Rams rely on their defense to create offense on the other end of the court by speeding the game up and using live ball turnovers to generate fast break opportunities.  

“They do a good job of running and trapping and trying to speed you up,” Schmidt said. “That’s how they play, that gets them going on offense.” 

Offensively, the scoring load is carried by Hyland, who averages 18.1 points per game. Hyland, who has doubled his scoring average from last season, can finish in the paint and poses a lethal stroke from behind the three-point line. 

“You can see that the team has confidence in him,” Schmidt said. “He’s gonna be a handful for the next three years. He’s an exceptional player that seems like he enjoys playing and is getting better.” 

Other players have found their moments to contribute on offense, but junior forward Vince Williams Jr is the only other double-figure scorer for VCU, averaging 10.8 points per game. 

“Williams, I think, is an X-factor. When he plays well, they usually win,” Schmidt said. “He has it all.” 

In their lone matchup last season, the Rams trounced the Bonnies on their home floor 91-63. St. Bonaventure will look to turn around what has been a dominant stretch for the Rams when they face the Bonnies. VCU has only lost to St. Bonaventure twice since joining the A-10 in 2012.

“They got good players,” Schmidt said. “They are one of the powerhouses in our conference.” 

After their matchup against VCU, the Bonnies were set for another big game against No. 25 Saint Louis on Saturday, but the status of that game is in question, as the Billikens announced another positive COVID-19 was found in the program, and they will now need to pause basketball activities once again.

“No matter who you play in the Atlantic 10, it’s an important game,” Schmidt said.  

Wednesday’s game against the Rams should go as planned, however. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. tip-off from the Reilly Center, and will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network.

Bona women close out La Salle for first A-10 win

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Nic Gelyon

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — “Hopefully, this breaks the dam and we’re on to a really good run here.” 

That’s what St. Bonaventure women’s basketball head coach Jesse Fleming had to say following his team’s 65-60 win against La Salle at the Reilly Center on Friday. 

Fleming’s hope is warranted, as his team managed to exercise some of its demons against the Explorers. The Bonnies won their first game since Dec. 16, a home victory against Binghamton. They won their first conference game, finally getting themselves out of the Atlantic 10’s basement. SBU hadn’t beaten La Salle in nearly seven years.

The Bonnies’ veterans continued to contribute in notable ways. Asianae Johnson had 15 points, four rebounds and four assists, leading the Bonnies in scoring and icing the game by knocking down 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch. 

Senior forward Emily Calabrese finished with five rebounds and three assists to go along with four points. 

For the Explorers, junior Kayla Spruill led the way shooting, going 4-for-5 from the field for 16 points while hitting a perfect 6-of-6 shots from the foul line. Sophomore Claire Jacobs made an impact on the glass for La Salle, notching a team-high nine rebounds with 11 points and four assists.  

But it was up-and-comers like Olivia Brown, Kaitlyn Parker, Maddie Dziezgowski, and I’yanna Lops who glued the game together for the Bonnies. All played key roles at different points in the game, particularly in scoring and rebounding, as the Bonnies continued to not rely solely on the veterans to do the heavy lifting. 

Fleming knows it was the team’s balance that made this game different. 

“I thought that everybody who came in really did something positive,” he said after the game. “I love the 19 assists number, really shared the basketball; the shooters came out shot ready, good shots.” 

Right out of the gate, the Bonnies dominated their way to a 22-4 lead, playing fast and taking advantage of some fantastic looks gifted to them by La Salle. Brown, a sophomore, led the first-quarter charge. One of the Bonnies’ more reliable shooters this season, she scored 11 points in the first quarter, aided by three wide-open looks from beyond the arc. 

But even as the Bonnies shot over 60% from the floor in the first half, their defense is what allowed them to build an 18-point lead. Limiting La Salle to just eight points in the first quarter, the Explorers couldn’t find a way to penetrate the Bonnies’ zone. Forcing them into long-range shots, the Bonnies played to La Salle’s weakness as a team, shooting just under 30% from three. 

Fleming spoke about the Bonnies’ defensive stand in the first half. 

“Love the defensive energy,” he said. “[La Salle] played down in Drexel on Wednesday, and then they came up here… we came out and said, if you guys aren’t going to have the energy, we’re going to have twice the energy.”  

The Explorers found some energy of their own in the second half. The Bonnies’ 18-point lead was cut to single digits by a dagger three from Deja King to bookend the first half. But, fresh out of halftime, Brown answered back with a three of her own. She’d finish the game with 14 points and five rebounds. 

Rebounding was also a team effort for SBU on Friday. Six Bonnies had four or more rebounds in the game, as St. Bonaventure outrebounded La Salle, 37-25, with a dominating plus-six advantage in offensive boards. It was a different look for a team that had ‘t dominated the glass this season. 

What kept La Salle in the game was their knack for getting to the free-throw line, hitting 17 of 19 on the day. But as La Salle began to capitalize on some of the Bonnies’ errors, and as they eventually cut their deficit to two points, the Bonnies exercised one of their more evil demons: their inability to close out games. 

This season, the Bonnies have blown a late lead against St. John’s on the heels of a Brown technical foul. They’ve failed to maintain their momentum during comeback efforts against Dayton and Richmond.  

And the Bonnies could have faltered amid a wave of Explorers after an Asianae Johnson turnover midway through the fourth with La Salle threatening to take the lead. Instead, they gathered themselves. They returned to what had worked the entire game, setting up their offense, working inside the paint, and asserting themselves on the glass. 

Resilient, the Bonnies successfully stood their ground on Friday, conquering the demon that has haunted them all season. 

“We could be licking our wounds after a couple tough losses,” Fleming said. “People were ready to step up… and we needed that.” 

Deja Francis, who had 11 points, four rebounds and six assists on Friday, agreed with her coach that this win could be the start of change for her team.

“It feels really good… just to finish this one out,” Francis said said. “We’re really close. It feels really good to just take that next step and get the win.” 

After a Sunday slate against Saint Joseph’s was canceled due to COVID-19 concern within the Hawks’ program, SBU will begin a two-game road trip that begins by visiting Fordham on Jan. 22.