Quick Hits: Bonnies Second Half Rally Falls Short At Fordham

By Tim Harfmann, @TimHarf

Crawled back: Trailing 41-27 at halftime, St. Bonaventure fought back with a 16-to-2 run in the second half. The Bonnies outscored Fordham 23-21 in the half, and forced the Rams to shoot only 16% from the field (4-for-24).  

Hot From Deep: The Rams went 47 percent from long range, hitting 11 of their 23 3-point attempts, including nine of their 13 first half attempts. Fordham’s Marah Strickland (4-8) and Erin Rooney (3-6) were 50% from beyond the arc, while Abigail Corning went 2-for-3.  

No love in February: The Bonnies were unable to find love in a hopeless place, marking the first time in program history that the Brown and White were unable to be victorious during the month of February (0-6). 

CeCe for Three!: Junior CeCe Dixon led the Bonnies from three-point range, making three of her seven attempts. Prior to tonight’s game, the Queens, N.Y. native was just 3-for-19 from beyond the arc. 

“Ram”-ming Through History: In the two seasons under head coach Stephanie Gaitley, the Fordham Rams have secured double-digit victories in Atlantic-10 conference play. Prior to the 2011-2012 season, the Rams never won more than five games in a single season against their conference opponents.

Corning Glass: Fordham’s Abigail Corning tied a career-high with a game-best 14 rebounds. The junior had 15 points on the night off 5-of-8 shooting.

This One Hurts: Suffering a 62-50 loss at Fordham, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies have been officially eliminated from a possible Atlantic-10 Tournament run. The Bonnies (9-19, 2-11) needed to win its last two games while both VCU and LaSalle had to lose both of their final two games. 

Bonnies’ Aim To Surprise Little 3 Rivals

[Photo courtesy of gobonnies.com ]

By Tim Harfmann, Staff Writer, @Timharf

The St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s cross country teams start their season on Friday as they host rivals Niagara and Canisius in the Little 3 Invitational on the St. Bonaventure golf course.

The Bonnies have not had much success against their Little 3 opponents, but head coach Bob Macfarlane is confident that his team has the potential to change that this season.

“Canisius is going to be very good again. Obviously they’re the favorite, both the men and women. I think we have a legitimate shot to be with them in the mix of it,” said Macfarlane.

Canisius’ men’s team won last year’s Little 3 Invitational for the sixth consecutive year, while their women’s team won for the fifth consecutive year. Although the St. Bonaventure men’s team finished in last, the women’s team placed second for the first time in team history.

This year’s invitational will be different as the men will run a 5K race at 11 a.m. compared to a usual 8K race.

The 2012 men’s cross country team, without senior leadership, is made up of four freshmen, seven sophomores and three juniors, two of whom are out for the season due to injury.

“The men’s race will be very tough,” Macfarlane said, “but I think we have some freshmen that can step up and make a big difference.”

The women’s race is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. and will also be a 5K race, which is their normal distance.

Macfarlane, who is in his third year with the Brown and White, hopes to see the women improve from last year’s second-place finish and believes Kady Weisner, a junior transfer from Bucknell University, could make a huge impact in the race.

“Don’t be surprised if you see Kady Weisner win the race,” Macfarlane said, speaking highly of the Saint Marys, Pa. native, “I’m not taking anything away from the other girls, but we brought (Weisner) in to be our number one runner and she hasn’t disappointed me in that aspect. She’ll be very competitive.”

The 2012 women’s cross country team consists of four freshmen, five sophomores and one junior.

This year’s invitational, which St. Bonaventure hosts once every three years, will be held on the golf course compared to the athletic fields, where it has been held in previous years. Macfarlane does not believe the times in this year’s 5K races will be as fast as last year’s, due to Niagara’s flat course, but believes this year’s hilly course should not be a challenge for the Bonnies.

“During high school, the kids were so used to running on hilly courses. That’s all they ever ran on,” said Macfarlane.

Macfarlane said the goal is for each individual runner to have their best times at the Atlantic 10 Championship on Oct. 27 in Philadelphia. However, the 1977 St. Bonaventure alum believes that it should not stop them from being competitive on Friday.

“Let’s put it this way, if we come in last, I’ll be disappointed,” the head coach said.
After Friday’s Little 3 Invitational, the Bonnies will compete in five other races.

Both the men’s and women’s teams have been predicted to finish last in the Atlantic 10 Conference, according to this year’s preseason rankings.

Is Macfarlane surprised that both teams were predicted to finish in the “basement of the A-10”?

“Historically, we’ve never been out of the basement and when I got hired that was one of the goals, not to be the doormat for every team in the Atlantic 10,” said Macfarlane.

“I’m hoping that we will be able to move up a spot or two in the men’s and the women’s this year.”

Unlike previous seasons, both the men’s and women’s teams will compete on a biweekly basis. Macfarlane said the reason is for training purposes.

“We had a stretch last year where we had three meets in three weeks and by the time we got to the Paul Short Invitational, the team was tired,” said Macfarlane.

This year’s cross country schedule is filled with unfamiliar courses. In fact, the Bonnies have not ran on any courses this season.  

“I wanted to check out new courses and the kids wanted to see different colleges,” Macfarlane said.

St. Bonaventure will compete for the National Catholic Championship at Notre Dame on Sept.14 and then travel to Leesburg, Va. for the Mason Invitational on Sept. 29.

“We’re going to see some A-10 schools at George Mason and it will be nice to see a few more A-10 schools that we normally don’t see,” said Macfarlane.

The Bonnies will have another two weeks off before heading to Gettysburg, Pa. on Oct. 13 for the Gettysburg Invitational.

On Oct. 27, both teams will compete in Philadelphia as Temple hosts this year’s Atlantic 10 Championship. Macfarlane said the top 10 runners from each team will compete and out of the top 10 from each team, the top seven will compete at the Northeast Regionals in Boston, Mass. on Nov. 9.

“It will become more of a competitive thing for the kids to strive for,” Macfarlane said.


Youssou Ndoye Excites Bona Fanbase

[Photo courtesy of Tony Lee ]

By Tim Harfmann, Staff Writer, @Timharf

Facing Rhode Island on the road, Bonnies fans thought they were watching another game slip away as senior forward Andrew Nicholson fouled out with 3:36 remaining in overtime. 

 To make matters worse, senior forward Da’Quan Cook also fouled out of the game with 1:38 remaining and the Bonnies only up by a single point.

With two of their big men no longer available for the game, head coach Mark Schmidt turned to Youssou Ndoye to step up for the Brown and White. 

The freshman answered the call.

In the last 77 seconds of the game, Ndoye slamed down a powerful, two-handed, dunk to give the Bonnies a 67-66 lead. He then drew a charge, recorded a steal and grabbed the game’s final rebound in a 72-66 Bonnies victory.

Ndoye would not have made such an impact earlier this season.

“Youssou (Ndoye) started off a little slow and now he’s really starting to understand where to go and how to play within our system and what we expect,”  assistant coach Dave Moore said of Ndoye’s improvements. “Now he lets his instincts take over.”

The 6-foot-11 center not only had his finger prints on the win over Rhode Island, but also in a win over Richmond. He also supplied 9-points against Xavier in a loss at the Cintas Center.

Ndoye has played double-digit minutes in each of the last 6 games, at least partly due to Nicholson’s recent foul trouble. 

“It’s huge especially when Andrew gets in foul trouble and we need Youssou in crunch time,” Moore said of Ndoye.” He really comes in and he’s just really active.” 

Nicholson fouling out in three of the past four games has given Ndoye the chance to gain vital experience in conference play.

“The more experience he can get, the better,” Moore said. “We’re going to rely on Youssou and we’re going to need him to be good.”

Ndoye credit’s his senior counterpart for some of his improvements.

“[Andrew’s] been helping me a lot whether it’s doing extra workouts or telling me what to do on the court,” said Ndoye.

The freshman said the coaches having confidence in him, makes him play more confidently. 

“It tells me that I can be special and I need to work harder,” Ndoye said. “When Andrew gets into foul trouble, I have to come in and step up. I’m just trying to do the best that I can do when he’s out of the game.”

The Dakar, Senegal native has improved his scoring from 1.6 points per game during non-conference play to 3.5 points per game during A-10 Conference games. 

He may not be Bonaventure’s leading scorer, but it is Ndoye’s defense that helps the Bonnies stay alive against their opponents.

“Youssou’s not the scorer that Andrew was as a freshman, but the rebounding, the shot blocking, the defense that he gives us, with his natural ability, has been huge for us,” Moore said. 

Moore leads player development for the men’s basketball team and sets goals for each player to accomplish.

So what is left for this freshman to accomplish with eight games remaining in the regular season?

“When we go big and we have size in there, we need him to be dynamite,” Moore said. “When he’s in the game we need him to rebound, run, block shots and get tip-dunks. We need all those activities and everything he can bring.” 

These days Ndoye’s trying to improve his post moves and free throw shooting during practices. 

In fact, he has scored in the last six games.

“I’m trying to be more aggressive, and I’m just getting more comfortable being on the court,” Ndoye said.

Ndoye said the Bonnies are trying to go as far as they can go while taking it one game at a time.  

With each passing game, Ndoye continues to improve, showing the potential that has fans dreaming of the possibilities.