BY ANDREW HALE, SPORTS STAFFER
Three days after its first conference win of the season, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies attempted to defend their home court against the 15-3 Rhode Island Rams Sunday afternoon. However, the Brown and White could not replicate their offensive success from Thursday night and fell to the Rams, 74-57.
Rhode Island, who is coming off a 75-49 win over Richmond, picked up where it left off. The Rams came out firing and quickly went up 12-5 after a Madison Hattix-Covington three-pointer. While Rhode Island was knocking down shots early, its defense prevented Bonaventure from getting into an offensive rhythm.
This led the Bonnies to utilize their defense against Rhode Island. After forcing 18 turnovers against Dayton, Bonaventure continued to cause havoc and forced the Rams to turn over the ball 14 times Sunday.
“We haven’t been able to score the ball as much, so defense is something that we take pride in,” interim head coach Erica Morrow said. “When I took over as head coach, defense is something that I really emphasized and talked about. Defensively we have to get stops, we can’t let teams come in here and dictate the tempo of the game.”
The Brown and White used this defensive tenacity to their advantage, leading to fastbreak opportunities and free throws. Four of the Bonnies’ nine first-quarter points came via the free-throw line. Bonaventure would go on to shoot 15-of-18 from the line throughout the remainder of the contest.
Rhode Island guard Ines Debroise pulled the Rams ahead 23-9 after she finished the first quarter 3-for-3 from the field to go along with eight points one assist and a steal.
Bonaventure faced some adversity in the second quarter as the Bonnies lost both Nadechka Laccen and Breauna Ware to injuries. Without their two primary ball handlers, the Brown and White relied on redshirt junior Kaitlyn Parker to fill the hole.
“We brought in Kaitlyn Parker, who has some experience at the point guard position, but all the girls know our plays from different spots,” Morrow said. “We definitely had to make some in-game adjustments on the fly but for the most part, we just moved some things around.”
While Ware eventually returned to the game, Laccen remained out for the final three quarters. Ware provided a spark for the Bonnies, finishing the game with 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The Brown and White would go on to outscore the Rams 13-11 in the second quarter but would still find themselves down 34-22 at half.
Senior forward I’yanna Lops brought some life into the Reilly Center crowd as she began the second half with seven points, highlighted by a turnaround midrange jumper.
Lops finished the game with 20 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and three blocks.
For every Bonaventure made shot in the second half, Rhode Island seemingly had an answer. However, the Bonnies were able to get past the interior defense of Rhode Island, through cutters, leading to open layups.
“We’re making adjustments based on what we see on the defensive end,” Morrow said. “We knew they [Rhode Island] were going to play the zone so we tried to flood the baseline a bit – we tried to overload one side on the inbounds play.”
Rhode Island shot lights out in the third quarter as they went 3-of-6 from three and 9-of-15 from the field. While it looked as if the Rams were going to pull away, the Bonnies kept it close, outscoring Rhode Island 19-18 in the fourth.
Ultimately the late offense was not enough as the St. Bonaventure Bonnies lost by 17 points to Rhode Island.
Bonaventure will look to bounce back Wednesday as it faces Saint Joseph’s. The game can be heard on WSBU 88.3 FM with the pre-game show starting at 6:45 p.m. for a 7 p.m. tip.