[Photos by Melissa Scott]

St. Bonaventure University students, staff and the surrounding community put together one last send-off for the women’s basketball team as they headed to the Sweet 16 to play Notre Dame in the women’s NCAA Tournament. The Bonnies lost to the Irish on March 25 (79-35), but their accomplishments throughout the 2011-2012 season will not be forgotten for years to come. 

St. Bonaventure beat Saint Joseph’s, 78-52, Sunday to make it to the 2012 Buick Atlantic 10 Championship. Monday’s contest between SBU and Dayton will be on ESPN 2 at 5 p.m.

Coach Jim Crowley, Jessica Jenkins, Megan Van Tatenhove and Armelia Horton talked about Sunday’s semifinal game vs. Saint Joseph’s and Monday’s championship game vs. Dayton.

[Related: Dynamic Duo leads Bonnies into A-10 finals]

[Related: Podcast interview with Ryan Gensler]

[Related: Podcast interview with Jennie Ashton]

The Intrepid’s Melissa Scott (@lissa_michelle_) and Kenny Nguyen (@KennyT_Win) took photos from No. 22/25 St. Bonaventure’s 66-48 victory against Xavier Saturday.

[Related – Column: Van Tatenhove shines brightest on Senior Day]

[Related – Behind the Wolfpack: Bona seniors cementing their legacies]

Behind the Wolfpack: Bona seniors cementing their legacies

[Armelia Horton and Jennie Ashton are just two Bona seniors who were under recruited, but are now part of the winningest class in program history – Photo by Kenny Nguyen]

By Ryan Lazo, Co-editor in chief/feature columnist, @RMLazo13

On a day the St. Bonaventure Bonnies moved their record to an impressive 25-2, 12-0 with a 66-48 victory over the Xavier Musketeers , it was another aspect of the game that garnered the most attention.

It was also Senior Day for the Bonnies as they honored the winningest class in program history with 93 wins and counting. 

This senior class has recorded four consecutive 20-win seasons, three Women’s National Invitation Tournament appearances and a likely NCAA Tournament bid this season.

Facing a disappointing Xavier (7-18, 4-8) squad, the Associated Press No. 22 team did what it had to do, dismantling the Musketeers, 66-48, in front of a season-high 3,824 fans at the Reilly Center.

Megan Van Tatenhove, Jessica Jenkins, Armelia Horton and Jennie Ashton were all under recruited and undervalued except to the Bona coach.

“We’re never going to win the lay-up line because we’re not flashy, and people look past us,”Bonnies coach Jim Crowley said. “It will always be our mentality. We will always have that chip on our shoulder.”

Ask the Musketeers how they feel about Van Tatenhove following her 10-for-18, 24-point, seven-rebound performance.

“Not only are they great players, but they really put in the work to develop their games to become the players they are now and lead them into the situation they are now,” Xavier coach Amy Waugh said of Van Tatenhove and Jenkins.

[Related: Photos from St. Bonaventure vs. Xavier game]

Luckily for the Bona program, Crowley saw the potential in each one of the players and set out to get them.

However, even he did not foresee the success that would follow.

“I really hope people realize the rarity of what these kids did,” Crowley explained. “What they have accomplished may never be repeated again.”

Even though they have set numerous program records, they credit the foundation that was laid before them by previous players for the success that has come their way.

“They beat us up everyday in practice,” Jenkins said smiling. “I think we learned from that and we knew it was probably the hardest stuff we would go through, but in the long run it was going to pay off.”

Van Tatenhove agreed.

“I was scared of them,” Van Tatenhove said of the seniors. “They did a good job of intimidating, so that definitely helped out.”

Also the key to their success is hard work. Each player continues to work hard to try to improve the weakest part of her game.

Jenkins is always the first one on the court, around four hours prior to game time, practicing her shot, making sure she is ready to supply offensive firepower.

But it’s Ashton who is the perfect example of a player Crowley coverts.

“Jennie has improved every year because she now knows her role,” Crowley said. “She goes in, plays great defense and grabs rebounds. She’s an invaluable piece to our team.”

Ashton does not supply the eye-popping statistics that make fans drool, but she does the dirty work that leads to second-chance Bona points.

With the A-10 Tournament in front of them plus a postseason tournament on the horizon, Horton said her favorite memory will not be matched.

“The comeback from our first WNIT game against South Florida,” Horton said beaming. “Those students came out and supported us for what was the biggest game in program history and the atmosphere was like nothing we experienced before.”

This Bonnies senior class has set numerous records, but they have one more program-first to add to their legacies, an NCAA Tournament appearance.


Lee-aving Nothing Behind: ‘They deserve more,’ says Crowley

By Tony Lee, Editor In Chief, @sHecKii

With a soft chuckle, coach Jim Crowley reflected on what he thought his St. Bonaventure career might have been after his 200th-career win.

“I didn’t think I’d stay here this long,” Crowley said on Dec. 7 after defeating Indiana, 65-45. “I thought people would get tired of me and move me out.”

That’s because Crowley once had a 57-119 coaching record, a winning percentage of 32.4 percent. He said he didn’t look at his record because he didn’t want to see it.

Now, all Crowley gets asked is about this season’s record and how a team picked sixth in the preseason Atlantic 10 Conference poll sits on top of the conference with a 16-2 record.

“I’m not sure people realize how good our players are,” Crowley said Saturday after winning a program-best third-straight A-10 game against St. Louis, 64-52. “They understand the value of the basketball.”

Crowley, despite his team receiving Associate Press Poll votes for a program-best fourth week in a row, answers questions about his team’s success as if he solved a century-long, unsolvable math equation.

I distinctly remember a media member saying, “I thought they were a fluke” before the coaches came in for a press conference after the 74-65 win at Temple on Jan. 11.

The Bonnies are legit, but that’s not the story.

“I’m so glad that coach gave me an opportunity to play here at St. Bonaventure,” said senior Armelia Horton, who has won a men’s and women’s basketball program-best 101 wins. 

“The coaches and the assistants,” she said, “they believe so much in the system that I just knew it wasn’t going to fail.”

That system, one Crowley admitted derived from when his back was against the wall, has not only changed the women’s program, but NCAA Division I basketball, too.

“We were in a situation in a few years ago where we it was the last of three-straight one-year deals — and there was new people coming in,” Crowley said of him and his staff. “If we didn’t have success and show progress, I was going to have to find a new career.”

But Crowley, who received a three-year extension prior to this season, didn’t just create a system.

The coaches believe. The players trust. The team wins.

“They’ve always been for real,” said Temple coach Tonya Cardoza on Jan. 11. “And most of the guys on their team weren’t recruited by a lot of schools, but they know that. And (Crowley) puts it into their heads. (He) has some workhorses that want to show everybody that have something to go out and prove to everybody. And that’s why they are so good.”

At their own school, NBA-prospect Andrew Nicholson and the men’s team out shadowed the women’s team. 

Despite making three-straight Women’s National Invitation Tournaments, the women’s basketball team averages around 600 attendees per game.

St. Bonaventure faces Richmond (14-3, 2-1) today at 7 p.m. The teams with the best A-10 records kick off the first basketball game since winter break at the Reilly Center.

Saturday’s game against St. Louis drew 479 people at the RC — but it’s far less than the 3,317 the men’s game had last Wednesday.

“I saw a lot of new faces there, which was really good,” Crowley said. “Obviously we’d like more — we appreciate all that come — but they deserve more, but we’re thankful for the ones that come. We just hope people try to find reasons to come than reasons not to.”

As long as the players continue to believe, Crowley and the Bonnies will see my mug on press row or in the stands consistently.

I’m obviously a believer. Now what about you? 


Senior Armelia Horton, who achieved a program-best 101st career win Saturday, gave The Intrepid an exclusive interview after St. Bonaventure (16-2, 3-0) defeated St. Louis (6-12, 0-3), 64-52, at the Reilly Center.

St. Bonaventure (16-2, 3-0) never trailed Saturday afternoon en route to a program-record A-10 win with a 64-52 victory over visiting Saint Louis (6-12, 0-3 A-10) at the Reilly Center.

Seniors Jessica Jenkins and Megan Van Tatenhove scored 15 and 14, respectively, to lead a Bonnies squad that committed only six turnovers. 

[Photos by Tony Lee, @sHecKii]