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+.