PITTSBURGH, PA — It has been over nine months since the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team and head coach Jesse Fleming have played an official game. However, that will change on Friday afternoon when the Duquesne Dukes and head coach Dan Burt play host to the Bonnies.
The Dukes have an immediate advantage, as they have played two games already this season, facing Ohio State and St. Francis (PA). The Dukes fell to the then-20th ranked Buckeyes, 82-47, before edging St. Francis, 69-67. This will be the team’s “home” opener, as the game will be played at La Roche University.
In each of the first two matchups, at least three players tallied 15 or more minutes off the bench for Duquesne. Tanaya Beacham had 23 minutes against the Buckeyes, and Jada Dupaa clocked in for 20 against St. Francis. Despite seeing a significant amount of action in those games, the bench only scored a total of 42 points.
Amanda Kailin has averaged 13.5 points per game to lead the team over its first two games, while Laia Sole has been a double-double threat, averaging 7.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
The Dukes have seen a total of 116 points on their side of the scoreboard. Of those 116 points, 96 of them have come from either in the paint or on the free-throw line. The Dukes have made 81.8% of their shots from the charity stripe.
If they’re going to find success, the Bonnies need to take the paint away from Duquesne and exhaust the Dukes on defense to force them into tough situations.
The game commences at 2 p.m. on Friday, and will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
As the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro, one of St. Bonaventure’s most accomplished journalism graduates, stated in his article on the Bona Blog — it’s the season Bonnies Fans have been awaiting for a very long time.
The journey starts tonight in the Reilly Center at 8 p.m. against longtime rival Niagara.
Preparing To win (possibly) without Adams
One of the biggest storylines that has gotten a lot of attention this week is whether or not Jaylen Adams will play tonight vs Niagara. Adams is questionable with an ankle injury that he sustained during the exhibition match-up against Niagara last Saturday.
Adams did not practice all week and sources say he’s been spotted on crutches, likely ruling him out for tonight.
If Adams can’t go, Junior guard Nelson Kaputo will likely get the start.
Last year, after not playing the first nine games for academic reasons, Kaputo averaged 2.0 points and 0.8 assists per game. Against Fordham last year he played 36 minutes and dished out six assists for the Bonnies. His highest scoring total came against George Mason, where he played 20 minutes and scored 13 points on 4-for-7 shooting.
Can History Repeat Itself?
The Bonnies have won their last six meetings with Niagara dating back to 2011, including last year’s game in Buffalo where the Bonnies came away with a 79-69 victory. Tonight marks the 158th meeting between the two big 4 rivals, with the Bonnies currently leading the series by an overwhelming 88 wins to 69 losses, and the margin only gets bigger at the RC where the Bonnies hold a 53-18 record vs Niagara.
Stacking up the Squads
This year’s team brings a lot of experience to the table as the team is returning four starters and seven letter winners. While Adams is questionable for tonight, Matt Mobley will still be there to pick up the slack as the two are known to be one of the best back-court tandems in the country. The lineup will also feature other strong role players such as Idris Taqqee, Josh Ayeni, LaDarien Griffin, Nelson Kaputo, Courtney Stockard, and Amadi Ikpeze. New additions like Izaiah Brockington, Tshiefu Ngalakulondi, and Ndene Gueye will also be mixed into the action.
Niagara brings experience to the table, as the team returns all five of its leading scorers from last year’s team which finished at 10-23. While last year’s results were not desirable Niagara is also primed to have a pretty solid year as they were picked to finish in the top five of the MAAC. The guys to key on for Niagara are Matt Scott who was named to the all-preseason MAAC first-team, and senior guard Kahlil Dukes who earned second team honors. Scott lead the team in scoring, rebounding, and steals last season, while Dukes was 11th in the MAAC in scoring and hit 92% of his shots from the line.
Keys for victory and prediction:
Obviously, if Adams is indeed ruled out for this game, other guys will have to chip in and take the pressure off of Mobley. Look for guys like Stockard (who scored 20 points in last week’s exhibition), and Idris Taqqee to step up and take the scoring load off of Mobley. Overall, even without Adams, this is a game the Bonnies should be able to handle. Look for Niagara to come in and play aggressive with nothing to lose. Niagara didn’t finish well last year, but they did put up a fight against the Bonnies, and they certainly aren’t a pushover.
After the St. Bonaventure Bonnies secured the third seed last Friday against Fordham, fans waited anxiously to see who the Bonnies would face in the opening round of the A-10 Tournament.
Before the Saturday games started, it looked certain the Bonnies would take on the surging Saint Joseph’s Hawks for the first time this season.
But a strange wave of events commenced.
The Hawks, who had previously dominated George Washington two games straight, lost it’s regular season finale to the Colonials in a blow out. Then, after being blown out twice by St. Louis, George Mason put together a last-ditch effort and won the final game against the Billikens securing the final spot in the tournament.
St. Louis moved down to the five spot, pushing George Washington up to the fourth and Davidson rested in the sixth spot.
The Hawks were out, and the Bonnies now had a date with one of the toughest teams they’ve faced in conference this season, the Davidson Wildcats.
Back in March, the Bonnies were a sub-par club looking for answers. Out of conference they sat at 5-5, but had a little momentum going with two straight wins over North Dakota State, winning both games despite being shut out in the series opener.
Opening conference play against the Wildcats in North Carolina, the Bonnies stayed neck and neck, tied at one, through four innings.
Then, the inflammation in starting pitcher Brandon Schlimm’s throwing arm acted up. Schlimm gave up three runs and the Bonnies were down 4-1.
Hope shined through when the Bonnies got a man on base, but the sunshine vanished quickly.
A rain delay forced the game to be finished the next day and the Bonnies couldn’t recover, losing 9-2. Just an hour after that loss, the Bonnies had to go out and play again, losing by the same score.
But the next day, in the final game of the series, the Bonnies dominated the Wildcats 17-4, led by a six hit, eight RBI domination by David Hollins. The Bonnies also got a great performance from starting pitcher Aaron Phillips, giving up three-earned runs, five hits and tossing seven strikeouts.
That loss sent the Wildcats into a tailspin, dropping the next five games.
With Phillips likely to start and the Bonnies not dealing with rain delays, pitcher injuries or home field advantage, it’s more likely the team that beat the Wildcats last time will show up, rather than the shell that got beat down twice in a row in a span of three hours.
Still — winning is far from guaranteed.
The Wildcats feature top conference players like Will Robertson and Brian Fortier, two bombers ranking top 30 in the NCAA for home runs.
In fact, the Wildcats rank 20th in the NCAA, averaging 1.26 home runs per game.
But the biggest factor may be ace pitcher Durin O’Linger, who’s compiled a 1.33 ERA through the months of April and May in seven starts.
Despite the offense on both sides, a pitching duel looks evident with two studs like Phillips and O’Linger likely slinging for their teams.
The number one key to victory is Phillips keeping the Wildcat bombers at bay, something he should be able to do giving up just six home runs this season.
As much success as the Bonnies have had recently, there’s two teams that have come to play this season.
This afternoon we find out if the Bonnies are the back-to-back losers Davidson saw in the first two games, or the dominant winners that closed out the Wildcats in the final game of the series.
September symbolizes things to come. Whether it’s football kicking off or the Fall TV season gracing our televisions, the transition from summer to fall is an interesting time in the world of pop culture. In the movie world, it means Oscar season is upon us. Although the awards are not given out until late February, the majority of the movies in contention come out during the months of October, November and December. That said, let’s dissect the films with the most anticipation surrounding them.
The Danish Girl: Tom Hooper’s latest film about the real life pioneering sex-change of Lilli Elbe may have opened to mixed reviews, but strong performances by Ex-Machina’s Alicia Vikander and last year’s best actor award recipient Eddie Redmayne mean that this film could end up taking home a couple awards at least in the actor department.
The Hateful Eight: Quentin Tarantino’s new western revenge film is generating a lot of Oscar buzz, especially in the supporting actor and actress category. Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh are all in the conversation for supporting actor and actress nods.There’s a good chance that Tarantino could get nominations in the best picture and best director slots, but is unlikely to win, not necessarily based on the quality of the film, but more from his history with the academy.
Joy: At this point, if David O. Russell, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence make a movie together, you should expect the film to be in the Oscar conversation. The trio seem to put out great movies annually, as evidenced by 2013’s American Hustle and 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook. Other than an obvious Oscar nomination for Lawrence, O. Russell’s Joy could find the director in contention for the best director and best picture nominations.
Black Mass: Welcome back Mr. Depp, we missed you. Yes, it looks like the actor that captured our hearts with brilliant performances in films like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Edward Scissorhands and Blow may be making his return to the elite. Depp’s latest film puts him in the role of James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious gangster himself. While the film is getting mixed reviews, Depp’s performance is receiving universal praise. Don’t be surprised if the academy favors the comeback story this year and gives Depp the award
Room: You may have not heard of this one at all, because, its buzz is relatively new. The film based on Emma Donoghue’s novel has received high praise from the Toronto International Film Festival, most notably for the performance of Brie Larson. While it’s tough to envision the film taking home a lot of awards altogether, Larson’s performance is getting rave reviews, so don’t be surprised if she takes
Steve Jobs: You knew this was coming. We finally get the Steve Jobs movie we’ve been clamoring for— we aren’t going to talk about that abomination Ashton Kutcher did. Kate Winslet and Michael Fassbender take the lead roles, the latter taking the role of Jobs himself. As much as I believe Depp and Larson could be winners this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if this film takes home a boatload, especially best actor and best actress.
Carol: Todd Haynes’ latest project has caught the attention of the Academy early, but not necessarily for the quality of the film. Actually, the Oscar buzz for this project comes from the excellent performances by the two lead actresses, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Both Mara and Blanchett should be up for the best actress award and, according to Indiewire.com, Mara is an early favorite to take it home in either the lead or supporting actress category.
Bridge of Spies: Two words: Steven Spielberg. One of the greatest directors of all time is returning to the director chair after a three year hiatus. Since Spielberg’s presidential biopic Lincoln, The acclaimed director has been linked to multiple projects, including Indiana Jones 5. However, with his Cold War inspired thriller Bridge of Spies, Spielberg actually has a legitimate product completed. While the film has not yet been released, the anticipation for it is growing, and I’d expect at least a best picture, and a best director nomination for Spielberg, as well as a best actor nomination for Tom Hanks.
Best of the Rest: Everest, Suffragette, Trumbo, Brooklyn, The Revenant, The Martian, Beasts of No Nation, Spotlight, Inside Out, Sicario
After winning their first two road games in Atlantic 10 play, the 15-10 St. Bonaventure Bonnies return home to host the 11-13 Duquesne Dukes at 7 in the Reilly Center.
Every remaining regular season game is huge for both teams on the road to the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Bonnies are currently eighth in the conference, but could still climb in the standings. Duquesne stands at 10th in the A-10, and they will certainly try to improve seeding as well. A win today would be huge for either side, so it will definitely be a hard-fought battle like the last meeting, which the Dukes won 83-81. Let’s break this matchup down:
St. Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt. 103-105 as Bonnies coach.
Duquesne: Jim Ferry. 19-35 as Duquesne head coach.