photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu
ST. BONAVENTURE — Any basketball game that ends in a victory is something to be proud of, no matter how the game went.
That was what head coach Jesse Fleming had to say about the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball game on Thursday.
“I don’t care if we win ugly, but it’s my job to clean it up after and get us better,” said Fleming.
Bonaventure won the contest, 71-67, in an overtime brawl at home against Niagara.
The Bonnies started the game off hot with seven unanswered points, forcing Niagara to call a timeout early.
The defense of St. Bonaventure would prove to be a problem for Niagara throughout the first quarter.
Niagara would eventually find their way back into the game, but Bonaventure would lead at the end of the first quarter, 15-11.
In the second quarter, Niagara began making many shots from deep. Niagara shot 3—11 from three in the first half, while the Bonnies shot a lackluster 1-10.
Niagara would take the lead from St. Bonaventure with two minutes left in the first half and keep it heading into halftime, leaving the score 31-30 Niagara.
This third quarter would not be one St. Bonaventure will want to remember. Niagara started the second half red hot from three-point range, nailing three in the first four minutes.
The Bonnies would also pick up their fifth team foul with five minutes left in the quarter, giving Niagara the bonus for nearly half the quarter.
Fleming spoke on the third quarter and the flaws he saw in the team.
“(I’m) a little frustrated with the middle of the second quarter and third quarter,” he said. “I thought we showed some immaturity. Thought we worried too much about the refs.
“I’m glad we couldget a win and learn from it, but if we want to be a competitive team in the A10 and accomplish some of our goals, we’ve got to grow up and be able to play through some adversity.”
At the end of the third, the Bonnies trailed Niagara 57-47.
While the third quarter was one to forget for St. Bonaventure, the fourth quarter was one to remember.
With 20 seconds left in the game, the Bonnies found themselves down by two points.
Off the inbounds, sophomore guard Asianae Johnson drew a foul on the shot and head to the free throw line to shoot two.
With the game on the line, she nailed both free throws to tie the game at 65.
Niagara would try for a last–second score, but the clock showed zero seconds left with the score still tied.
“We (shoot free throws) in practice every day,” Johnson said. “In tough moments, coach will put us in difficult situations where we have to take pressure free throws and I just thought of it as practice.”
The Bonnies edged their way back from down 10 in the fourth quarter, outscoring Niagara 18-8 in that span.
In overtime, Bonaventure took care of business business.
Johnson and sophomore guard Deja Francis would each score three points for St. Bonaventure in the extra period.
Those baskets proved to be enough, as the Bonnies win at home in a hard-fought victory.
St. Bonaventure’s balanced scoring was something to highlight on the night. Fleming said the team needs that type of contribution to win games.
“If we’re playing basically six and a half people, then we’re going to need four consistently in double digits,” he said.
The Bonnies will be back in action on Sunday when they host Akron at 1 p.m.