Coach Fleming and crew take on rival Niagara in first test

By Isaiah Blakely

St. Bonaventure women’s basketball opens the season by playing host against Niagara University as the Bonnies look to bounce back from its 9-20 campaign last year.

Niagara, coached by Jada Pierce, finished 8-22 last season. In the last meeting however, Niagara came out victorious at home 65-43 for the first time since 2006 leaving Bonaventure with a 36-24 series lead.

Second-year coach Jesse Fleming has four new players along with five returners lead by Atlantic 10 preseason All-Conference second team selection Mariah Ruff. Ruff averaged 13.9 points, 4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game last season.

Also headlining the offense is fellow captain Mckenna Maycock, who only started six games last season but was second on the team in minutes. Maycock averaged 7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Sophomore point guard Jalisha Terry will look for a larger impact this season after she led Bonaventure with 18 points in their scrimmage against Edinboro. Terry averaged 7.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2 assists last season.

Junior college transfer forwards Arielle Harvey and Bree Paulson are about to play their first official game for Bonaventure, while freshman Emily Calabrese looks to get action immediately after starting against Edinboro in an exhibition last Saturday.

With these new players Fleming mentioned the need “to speed up the chemistry curve.” “He was hoping that in the non-conference to have some games that really test us.” Fleming also wanted to “have games that we have a chance to win and we can just grow and learn”.

“These games are a learning experience,” Fleming said. “We need to use these so we’re hitting on all cylinders once A-10 play starts”.

Niagara is the first test and the Purple Eagles are returning three of their top scorers and nine players overall from last season led by redshirt-senior forward Victoria Rampado who lead the MAAC conference in points and was fourth in rebounds averaged 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds. Rampado finished All-MAAC Second Team last season. Rampado lead the Purple Eagles to the victory over Bonaventure last season scoring 17 points. The 2017 MAAC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll ranked the Purple Eagles to finish ninth in the conference.

St. Bonaventure was selected 12th in the Atlantic 10 preseason coaches poll.

St. Bonaventure is 25-4 against Niagara at home and will look to keep up that impressive record on Friday, at 5 p.m. at Reilly Center.

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With confidence soaring, Calabrese looking to make an impact this season

By Jeremy Castro

Emily Calabrese, one of five new additions to the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team, is one of the two freshmen on the squad alongside Abigail Johnson.

Calabrese hails from Wyckoff, New Jersey (about thirty miles outside of New York City) and has played a big impact in how she has developed.

“I really love where I am from,” Calabrese said.

“They really focus on recreational sports and the travel teams are great. This is how I got involved in basketball and has really helped me grow my play and become a really good player.”

Growing up, Calabrese played numerous sports. However, basketball eventually came out on top.

“I was the kid that played all the sports,” Calabrese said.

“Originally, my main sport was soccer. Eventually, my dad asked me if I wanted to start playing basketball and I said I would try it out. It ended up being my favorite sport and I knew(basketball) was the sport I wanted to pursue and play in college.”

 

Calabrese went to Ramapo High School in Ramapo, New Jersey, where she averaged a double-double for her career, recording 17.6 Points and 12.6 rebounds per game during her four years. She was named to multiple selective teams, such as First Team All-North Jersey and Second Team All-State. She is also the only player to record both over 1000 points and 1000 rebounds in the history of Ramapo High School.

When Calabrese came to visit the little school in Olean, New York, she knew right away she belonged.

“The atmosphere, the community, the coaches, everyone was great,” she said. “I knew this is where I wanted to be.”

A lot of this success can be attributed to the confidence that Calabrese has in herself.

“Over time, my confidence (has grown),” Calabrese said.

“I tried out for my AAU team. I didn’t think I was going to make it at first, but I did. That really grew my confidence. I started going to a trainer to help grow my game more. I like being a leader on and off the court.”

Being a freshman, this will be Calabrese’s first taste of Bonnies basketball and she is very much looking forward to it.

“I have an opportunity to really make an impact this year,” Calabrese said.

“Hopefully I can be very positive and play really well to help my team. (Also) to have a successful season in and out of conference. Maybe even make it to the (NCAA) tournament.”

Right before our time together ended, and with both of us New Jersey natives, there was one question that stood above the rest and needed to be answered.

Pork Roll or Taylor Ham?

“Taylor Ham,” Calabrese said.

Five takeaways from St. Bonaventure University vs. Edinboro University

By Isaiah Blakely

Editor’s Note: Information about Abigail Johnson was added to the story in order to address a big event during the game and to provide transparency to our loyal readers.

In a gritty and razor-thin contest, the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team was upset by the Edinboro Fighting Scots, 67-64 at the Reilly Center. While it may have only been an exhibition, a few things from the game stood out.

Here are five takeaways from the scrimmage.

1. Chemistry

With four new players it was clear it’ll take some time for this team to gel. Several offensive sets were clunky, and the team had 25 turnovers. Many of the turnovers came off miscommunication errors and players not being on the same page. You could chalk it up to preseason jitters, but the Bonnies will have to improve communication if they want to succeed this season.

2. Three point shooting

There are definitely more shooters on the floor at all times. Sophomore Danielle Migliore especially impressed, shooting 4-8 from behind the arc. Overall, the team shot 35% from three.

3. Mariah Ruff doesn’t have to carry the scoring load

Last year’s leading scorer by far, Ruff got some help as Migliore and freshman Emily Calabrese each put up double figures, while sophomore Jalisha Terry led with an 18 point effort off the bench. Ruff still scored 12 points, but struggled from the field going 3-10. Ruff should improve on those numbers as the season goes on and if the Bonnies can get more players in double figures the team could improve on their showing from last season.

4. Defensive Rebounding

Edinboro had 18 offensive rebounds, a startling stat that heavily contributed to their win. The Bonnies forwards have to do a better job of boxing out and hanging on to loose rebounds. That could depend on 6-2 forward Abigail Johnson’s health as she “appeared to faint during a stoppage of play” and hit her head on the court during the game. Johnson was transported to a regional medical facility for evaluation in a scary moment at the Reilly Center. With Johnson’s health in question, and frankly a more important issue than her basketball status, the Bonnies will need better technique from their remaining bigs if they want to win the rebound battle this season.

5. Rim Protection Edinboro had success in the paint even though they were the smaller team out-muscling the Bonnies with 14 second-chance points. The Bonnies had 3 blocks in the game, but two of them came from the guards. The bigs only mustered one block and will need to protect the paint better to improve their defense.

The Bonnies open the season with a Friday home stand vs. Niagara University at 5:30 p.m. at the Reilly Center.