Bona women drop pair of games at Fordham, Rhode Island

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

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+ 

Women’s basketball: Michael’s defense leads Bona’s past Fordham

By Joseph Phelan, @JPhelan13

Fordham’s Erin Rooney entered today’s game against Bonaventure averaging 19 points a game.

She’s one of the best players in the league, and one of the best players Bonaventure has faced this year.

Although she had seven assists and nine rebounds, Rooney shot 3 for 16 from the field for 11 points.

You can thank Emily Michael for that.

Continue reading “Women’s basketball: Michael’s defense leads Bona’s past Fordham”

Behind The Wolfpack: Bonnies’ Season Of Missed Chances Ends

[St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt is in disbelief as his team Bonnies team fell to Fordham, eliminating them from the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13


ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Everything was set up the way Mark Schmidt could have wanted. His St. Bonaventure team controlled their own destiny, win and in, as they faced off against the lowly Fordham Rams.

But this is not a movie and there is no script to follow except the one Bona made along the way.

The Rams, losers of 14 of their last 15 games, came into the Reilly Center with nothing to play for except being a spoiler. And they turned in an Academy Award winning performance, defeating the Bonnies, 76-72 in front of 4,515 fans in attendance for Senior Day.

Even with the loss, the Bonnies (14-15, 7-9) still had hope that they could sneak into the Atlantic 10 Tournament, albeit not in the way they envisioned.

“We just want to get in. That was the goal,” Mark Schmidt said after his team’s loss to Fordham. “We’ll see what happens tonight. We just want to get and hopefully that happens.”

However, Schmidt and Bona’s hopes were dashed at 8:51 p.m. as the buzzer sounded in Charlotte, officially eliminating the Bonnies from the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.

A complete and stunning turnaround from last season in which the Bonnies won four out of their last five games in the regular season before winning three straight to capture the program’s first A-10 Title.

But that is a distant memory today as the facts are almost too hard to conceive.

Not only did Bona get handed a cupcake by playing Fordham (7-24, 3-13), they hosted them on their home court on Senior Day, giving themselves more momentum. The hapless Rams had not won a road game since Dec. 10, 2011 against Monmouth and their first A-10 road win since Jan. 28, 2009 when they defeated the Bonnies.

“I just think we didn’t rise to the occasion. We just came in thinking that we were going to beat the team without showing up,” Bona center Youssou Ndoye said. “Like coach said, we need to show up every night.”

Damning words about a team that graduated four seniors, three of which starters, and all important pieces to last year’s title run.

But it’s also been the story of a season filled with missed opportunities.

One shot here, one defensive stop there and the story could have been written different about this Bona squad. While many predicted this type of gloom for the Bonnies’ program following the departure of First-Round NBA Draft Pick Andrew Nicholson, it was not Nicholson whom Bona seemed to miss.

Far too often this season, Bona was outplayed in the paint or dominated on the glass. Lack of not only height in the paint, but toughness spoke loudly. While Nicholson supplied much of the scoring last year, it was Da’Quan Cook who did the dirty work.

It was Cook who would effectively shut-down another team’s big man. It was Cook who would sky for rebounds, both offensive and defensive, to keep Bona in the game. And it was Cook who refused to let the Bonnies be bullied in the paint.

Except that’s what happened all season, including last night.

“The bottom line is that we didn’t play hard enough and we didn’t rebound as a team,” Ndoye said of his teammates. “The bigs didn’t rebound and that’s what hurt as more.”

Against Fordham, Bona was out-rebounded by a 35 to 24 margin, including an absurd 19 to 6 margin in the second half.

But it didn’t stop there.

The Bonnies were out-scored in the paint by a 42 to 28 gap and lost the second-chance point battle, 21-9.

“We didn’t deserve to win,” Schmidt said emphatically. “Fordham played better. We didn’t defend them and we didn’t rebound with them. When you don’t do those two things, you are going to lose.”

Heart-breaking. Demoralizing.

Two words that Bona fans have used a lot this season and used again last night. But take those two words and the season into perspective.

St. Bonaventure’s Matthew Wright had a 3-point attempt at the end of regulation go off the side of the iron against Canisius. Chris Johnson had the same happen to him at Arkansas State. Demitrius Conger had it happen against La Salle.

The point?

Just a few inches the other way in each game and Bona could be looking at their season a lot differently. The loss of Nicholson, supposed to hinder the offense, did not happen. The Bonnies ranked fifth in the conference in scoring and second in 3-point field goal percentage.

And while Bona graduated four seniors, there is still talent left on this roster, something many did not predict once Nicholson graduated.

Photo by Daulton SherwinPhoto by Daulton Sherwin

Ndoye’s development this season was a major story-line and he saved his best for last, scoring a career-high 17 points against Fordham. The Senegal native, already a menacing force for opposing guards driving the lane, has plenty of untapped potential.

Jordan Gathers, a key player last season for his defense, saw his offensive production increase when he attempted his shot. Gather set a career-high against Richmond with 18 points, going a perfect 7-of-7 from the field, becoming the first Bona player in 16 years to attempt seven shots without missing.

Even Dion Wright put together a career-high performance himself with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting against Charlotte. The freshman always was active on both the offensive and defensive ends and once he grasps Schmidt’s playbook, he can be Conger-like in his production.

While Bona’s season ends in disappointing fashion, one must look at where this program came from. Expectations are heightened and talent is abundant because of the impact seniors like Conger and Davenport had on the program.

“It’s disappointing. I feel bad for our seniors,” Schmidt said after the game. “You never want to go out that way, losing at home in your last game.”

As one season ends, another begins, bringing with it more expectations and chance to continue build the Bonnies into a perennial contender, one shot, one defensive stop and one rebound at a time.