Bona women fall to Akron, 63-54

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By Keara Donnelly

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. —  The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team (1-2) started strong, but fell short to the Akron Zips (1-0), 63-54, after a disappointing second half at the Reilly Center on Sunday afternoon.

The Bonnies led the Zips by nine points at half time, but only scored 15 points in the second half. 

The Zips outscored the Bonnies with 33 points in the second half, and went on a 20-4 run to secure the victory.  

The Bonnies had led for over 38 minutes of the game.  

Deja Francis led the Bonnies with 13 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Olivia Tucker shot 3-4 from the three-point line and had 11 points off the bench.  

Dajah Logan and Jurnee President each had nine points for the Bonnies.  

Akron’s Shaunay Edmonds scored 20 points and was 6-14 from the field. She scored nine of those points and seven steals in the second half alone.  

Edmonds forced turnovers from Bona guards Francis and Olivia Brown, which led to easy transition baskets for the Zips.  

The Zips secured 18 points off of turnovers and 24 points off of fast breaks.  

The Bonnies executed well in the first half, connecting on their first six shot attempts as part of a 10-0 run in the first quarter. Akron grabbed its first lead of the game in the second quarter, 22-21.  

In the fourth quarter, the Bonnies froze to only shoot 1-for-13 from the field. 

“We did some really good things for a lot of the game and it just folded like a tent in the fourth quarter,Bonnies head coach Jessie Fleming said.  

The Bonnies shot 36.5% from the field, while the Zips shot 31.6% from the field. Akron drew 21 fouls and shot 80% from the free throw line.  

“I was happy with threes not going down and still being in the game, where we didn’t have to rely on it,” Fleming said. “We should have been living at the foul line today and we were just taking the shots that were given to us today. Great to see that we have the ability to hit 11 threes.” 

It was a close match up, but pour defense in the fourth quarter and missed shots secured the Zips victory.  

“(Akron is) a team that been playing together for a while now,” Fleming said. “I’m not sitting here being negative about this loss. We are a young team that has two sophomores in the starting lineup and two freshmen playing a lot of minutes.  

My message to the team in the locker room was to use this as a learning experience and to continue moving forward.” 

 Now, Bonnies will hit the road for the first time of the season.  

The team will play the defending Patriot League champion Bucknell Bisons at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. 

Bona women come back to beat Niagara in OT

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By Hayden Robinson

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 311 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 lastsecond 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. 

Lack of shooting dooms Bona women in loss to St. John’s

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By Justin Myers

The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team’s lack luster shooting performance from three hurt it in its season opener Tuesday night.

The team went 1-12, shooting 8 percent for the game in its 68-56 loss to St. John’s.

Even though they struggled to shoot, sophomore Asianae Johnson was a bright spot for the Bonnies.  She finished with 18 points and four rebounds.

Junior Emily Calabrese contributed with 12 points and seven rebounds, and sophmore Deja Francis had nine points in the game.

Even with the contributions from those three, head coach Jesse Fleming emphasized fixing up the offense.

“I thought we did a decent job of clogging the lane and forcing difficult shots,” he said. “We are starting to get better at taking care of the ball and hopefully the offense will come along. Asianae, Deja and Emily displayed some good things tonight.

“I’ve got to figure out a way to unclog the offense,” he continued. “We’ve got to find some ways to get some better flow, and go from one action to the next action.

As a team, the Bonnies shot 45.5 percent from the floor on 25-of-55 shooting.

St. John’s outscored the Bonnies in bench points, 22-5, and in fast-break points, 21-2.

The Bonnies have a quick turnaround, as they face Little Three rival Niagara in the Reilly Center on Thursday.

Cody lives her dream at Bonaventure

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By Matt Stasiw

Claire Cody, the newest walk on and player for the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team, has always felt a connection to SBU.

At a young age, she learned from her brother just how special the school is.

“My older brother went here, and seeing the candle-light ceremony and how special that was, I felt a connection every time I came here”, Cody said.

However, Cody didn’t always plan on attending Bonaventure.

She started the year committed to play Division II basketball at Southern New Hampshire University.

“I knew it wasn’t the right fit,” Cody said. “I emailed Coach (Jesse) Fleming in August, and he gave me the opportunity to try out here.”

Cody has many outside motivations.

“If I wasn’t not playing, I’d feel bad for my parents,” said said. “They always drove me to so many places that I had to repay them.”

She said that she “needed” to play at Bonaventure.

“I can’t imagine not playing basketball,” Cody said. “I love the competition, and so many people never get this opportunity, I just had to try out here.”

Cody said she fits in to the Bona system because of the compassion from her teammates.

“I don’t feel any different because I am a walk on,” she said. “The girls have taken me under their wing.

“I’m going to go out there and give it my all. I just have to be a good teammate, make everyone better, and make the hustle plays that coach needs me to make.”

Harris looks to start new beginning at Bonaventure

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By Matt Stasiw

Tori Harris is hoping to make a huge impact for the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team. 

Harris, sister of Philadelphia 76ers star Tobias Harris, played her first two seasons at James Madison University.

“I didn’t play how I wanted”, Harris said. “St. Bonaventure felt different to me, I wanted to transfer here”. 

Although Harris needs to sit out his season due to NCAA transfer rules, she still wants to improve her game a lot this year.

“Not playing this year makes me have a different approach”, Harris said. “I need to make my teammates better by playing against them at high level all the time”. 

Harris said she can’t wait to eventually play next year and experience the great atmosphere. 

The newest Bonnie sees a lot of potential from this team.  

“Every team wants to get to the NCAA tournament”, Harris stated, “We have enough talent as long as our communication on defense gets better”. 

Although we can only catch Tori Harris cheering on the team this year, just wait until next year. She plans on making herself clearly known. 

Francis hopes to build on breakout season

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By Jeff Uveino

Deja Francis had a breakout freshman season in 2018-19.

She burst on to the St. Bonaventure scene by starting 27 games and playing nearly 30 minutes per game for the women’s basketball team.

Her efforts earned her a spot on the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team.

Now, entering her sophomore year, Francis is committed to taking a new-look Bonnies team in the right direction.

Francis averaged 9.4 points per game and 3.5 assists per game a season ago, and her 104 total assists were good enough for fourth in the A10.

Francis’ ability to distribute the ball, as well as score points, makes her a dangerous offensive player.

“Assists have always been a big part of my game, even before college,” Francis said. “I want to be at least top five in the league in assists again this year, and I have a lot of good players around me which will help me accomplish that.”

The Bonnies struggled to win games a year ago, finishing 8-22. 

Francis said that head coach Jesse Fleming has implemented some changes that will help take the team in the right direction.

“He’s changing a lot of the offense,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot more freedom for us to move on the court, so hopefully that will help us win games.”

The offensive game plan isn’t the only change coming to this year’s Bona squad.

The Bonnies have seven new players on their roster, and a handful of players in their second season with the program.

“This group came together for a week in the summer and automatically clicked,” Francis said. “We’ve got a lot of good pieces, so even if I’m not used as much as I was last year, I’m okay with that because we have a lot of good players.”

Another thing to note about Francis’ freshman campaign was that her statistics improved during A10 play.

She averaged 10.1 points per game and 4.4 assists per game against A10 opponents.

“It’s go time when it gets to A10 play,” Francis said. “It’s not that I see it as more of a challenge, I just feel that that’s when it’s time for me to step it up.

“I’m already on the radar, so I’m just looking to improve in every way that I can.”

The Bonnies open their regular season on Tuesday when they host St. John’s University at 5 p.m.


Bona women Eurostep their way to exhibition win

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By Akim Hudson

On Wednesday night, excitement skyrocketed for the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team’s exhibition, as the Bonnies defeated SUNY Cortland, 68-54.

Early in the first quarter, things weren’t looking good for the Bonnies.

SBU allowed too many rebounds and open shooting opportunities for Cortland, and the Red Dragons capitalized on these opportunities for the most part.

Cortland’s Beth Bonin and Nyia Longford contributed largely to their teams’ early productivity, consequently resulting in a 21-14 lead going into the second quarter for the Red Dragons.

In the second quarter, momentum swung toward the Bonnies.

The defensive pressure and intensity picked up, due in large to contributions from Asainae Johnson, Deja Francis, Emily Calabrese and Olivia Brown, who combined for a total of nine steals.

Brown had four steals herself, providing energy off the bench.

 Asianae Johnson led the way on offense with sixteen points.

With moves potent in finesse and niftiness, she was able to get to the paint anytime she wanted.

Jurnee President got her fair share of buckets, as well. She finished with 14 points.

Dajah Logan was too much for Cortland to handle in the paint, as she took advantage of her skillset.

The Bonnies will open their regular season on Tuesday night, when they host St. John’s University at 5 p.m. 


Calabrese enters third year with high expectations

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By Jeff Uveino

Emily Calabrese is no stranger to Atlantic 10 basketball.

Over her first two seasons with the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team, Calabrese appeared in 60 games and made 49 starts.

Entering her junior season, the 6’ forward from Wyckoff, New Jersey is looking to take the next step forward in her career.

“I’m going to be playing at a higher level this year,” Calabrese said. “I’ve taken all of the experience I’ve gained over the last two years and worked to build on it this season.”

Calabrese averaged 6.6 points per game last season, up from 6.0 ppg her freshman year. She shot 44.5 percent from the field last year, an improvement from 41 percent two seasons ago.

She said that defense has been the priority of her work this offseason, as well as rebounding.

“I’ve worked to get quicker and stronger, and also develop my game around the basket,” Calabrese said. “I want to rebound well, especially offensively. You don’t need skill for that, it’s more energy and working really hard.”

Calabrese also said that getting as many offensive rebounds as possible is a goal of hers this season. 

She averaged 5.1 rebounds per game in her sophomore season, and 5.6 rpg in her freshman year. 

In her third year with the program, Calabrese is the longest-tenured Bonnie on this year’s roster.

“It’s like a whole new team this year,” Calabrese said. “There’s a lot of different pieces that we haven’t had in previous seasons, and it’s pretty cool to have all these new teammates.”

The 2019-20 Bonnies feature seven new players, including four freshmen and three transfers.

“Being one of the most experienced players on our team, I want to become a leader this year,” Calabrese said. “I’m looking forward to all of our games, especially our Christmas tournament in Florida.”

St. Bonaventure opens its regular season on Nov. 5 when it hosts St. John’s University, following an Oct. 30 exhibition against SUNY Cortland at the Reilly Center.