BY NATHAN SOLOMON, SPORTS STAFFER.
The St. Bonaventure Women’s Basketball team (6-12, 5-10 A10) took an early 5-2 lead and ran with it, beating the Duquesne Dukes (4-9, 3-6 A10) 72-55 at the Reilly Center on Monday.
“They really played for each other tonight,” coach Jesse Fleming said. “I was pleased with the way the ball moved, the way we shot the ball, we attacked the rim, and I thought it started early with some great defensive energy”.
The Bonnies came out of the gate scorching hot, taking a 25-point lead into the half off 63% shooting as a team and four 3-pointers from sophomore Olivia Brown.
“My teammates looked for me, which was amazing,” Brown said. “Our ball movement was so great, especially in the first half, which gave us momentum”.
St. Bonaventure held a 23-point lead over Duquesne heading into the fourth quarter, but the Dukes wouldn’t go down easy. Thanks to full-court pressure, Duquesne came within 13 points of the Bonnies late in the game.
“[We] started to make it a little ugly,” Fleming said. “We had a turnover here and there, [we] took some shots like ‘eh, should’ve I taken that shot?’, which is what press is going to do”.
Fortunately for Fleming and his squad, the Bonnies were able to hold on to victory for their fifth conference win of the year.
St. Bonaventure had a very well-balanced offense with four scorers in double figures: Asianae Johnson with 18, Brown with 17, and Tori Harris and Emily Calabrese each with 11.
“We were locked in,” Fleming said. “Attackers were attacking, forcing help, kicking to the shooters or they were scoring”.
In addition to her 11 points, Harris added three steals to lead a defensive effort that held the Dukes to under their season average of 62.5 ppg and to just 27% shooting.
“We didn’t give them anything easy,” Fleming said. “They made two or three post moves, but they had to make it over the top of us……then they went smaller and went [with] a lot of ball-screen stuff. We did a really good job of jumping out on the ball-handler, but still being there to help on the roll-down and still recovering out and contesting shots”.
Leading the Dukes were sophomore duo Ny Langley and Amaya Hamilton, who scored 17 points and 11 points, respectively.
Next up for the Bonnies is La Salle and St. Joseph’s, both of whom they’ll face on the road this weekend.
“We’re trying to get into the top half of the A10 tournament,” Brown said. “St. Joe’s and La Salle are two very winnable games”.
Friday’s game against St. Joseph’s tips at 6 pm, while Sunday’s game against La Salle tips at 2 pm. Both matchups will be streamed on ESPN+