BY ANDREW HALE, BEAT WRITER
The key to the Bonnies’ downfall in their season opener Monday night was their 29 turnovers. The second game of the season saw 26 turnovers as the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team fell to the Eastern Tennessee State Buccaneers 66-58.
Like she did in game one, junior Tianna Jackson opened the scoring for the Bonnies with a quick first step and layup while drawing a foul.
Foul trouble proved to be a problem for both teams throughout the game. Both teams went on to combine for a staggering 51 personal fouls in total.
Bonaventure junior Maddie Dziezgowski, who was out against Bowling Green with a lower body injury, provided an immediate spark for the Bonnies off the bench.
Tied 8-8 with four minutes left in the first quarter, Dziezgowski made a deep 3-pointer to put the Bonnies up three. Minutes later, Dziezgowski poked the ball away from Bucs guard Kendall Folley leading to a coast-to-coast drive topped off by a euro-step layup.
“Maddie was the lone bright spot for us tonight,” Bonaventure coach Jesse Fleming said. “It wasn’t always pretty but Maddie was trying to make plays. That’s all you can ask for out of a kid and I just loved her mentality.”
At the end of the first quarter, the Bonnies led the Bucs 13-11. The Brown and White picked up where they left off going up 18-13 in a matter of minutes to start the second.
The five-point lead wouldn’t last long, and with a multitude of missed shots and turnovers, ETSU went on a 13-0 run, flipping the script and leading the Bonnies, 26-20, at the end of the first half.
The third quarter saw the Bonnies in a similar situation. After two misses to start the third, the Bucs went up 10, forcing a quick Bonaventure timeout.
As she did in the first half, Dziezgowski put the team on her back. Making her second three of the game and hitting a smooth pull-up mid-range jumper, the Bonnies were back within eight with 6:14 left in the quarter.
ETSU stole the momentum, going up 17 points on the Bonnies with 27 seconds remaining in the third. The Bucs offense put on a clinic in the third quarter shooting 9-14 from the field and 66.7% from three.
ETSU guard Jiselle Thomas, who had 20 points going into the fourth quarter, continued her dominant night by slipping past the Bonnies’ defense.
“Our whole game plan was to keep her out of the paint, and she lived in it,” Fleming said. “She would just constantly get downhill. We’re trying to jump out and hedge her and we just did not get to it.”
While Thomas scored 12 of her 32 points in the fourth, Bonaventure was resilient defensively down the stretch.
After a block by Bonnies sophomore forward Taylor Napper with 3:02 left in the game and a steal by senior I’yanna Lops leading to a quick bucket, the Bonnies got the game to within seven points.
Bonaventure proceeded to draw fouls to keep the game close in the final minutes, but ETSU would draw an end to any thought of a comeback as Thomas made two free throws to put the Bucs up 10.
Eastern Tennessee State went on to defeat Bonaventure 66-58. Dziezgowski led the Bonnies with 18 points and six rebounds, shooting 6-of-11 from the field.
The Brown and White weren’t able to learn from their game-one mistakes as they finished with 25 turnovers while being outrebounded and outscored in the paint.
“We’re so far away from where we need to be,” Fleming said. “I’m frustrated because from game one to game two we’re the same team. I think we are going to be doing a lot of personnel changes throughout the year… because this is not working through two games.”
Bonaventure continues its season on the road, Wednesday, against Siena. The game can be heard on WSBU 88.3 FM with the pre-game show starting at 4:45 p.m. for a 5 p.m. tip.