Jan. 17, 2009

Courtesy of St. Bonaventure

ST BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Behind a strong first half offensive performance, the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team cruised to a 67-44 victory over UMass on Saturday afternoon at the Reilly Center.

The Brown and White shot 50 percent (15-30) in the first half to build up a comfortable lead that they would not relinquish the entire game.

The win improves the Bonnies record to 13-4 on the season and 2-0 in the Atlantic 10. The 13-4 start is the best start after 17 games in the 35-year history of St. Bonaventure women’s basketball. The Brown and White are also 2-0 in the Atlantic 10 for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

The win was also a milestone one for Head Coach Jim Crowley. The win was Coach Crowley’s 100th at St. Bonaventure University since he was named the head coach in 2000.

“It took too long,” said Crowley. “I have just been very lucky to have coached so many great kids during my time here and to have worked with my staff and so many other great people here at St. Bonaventure.”

Junior Dana Mitchell (Fairless Hills, Pa./Pennsbury) led St. Bonaventure with 12 points on the strength of a perfect 8-for-8 day from the free throw line. Five other Bonnies had seven points or more to fuel their balanced scoring attack against the Minutewomen.

The Bonnies would jump out to an early 8-0 lead on the strength of back-to-back three-pointers by Cara Gustafson (Omaha, Neb./Gretna)  and Katelyn Murray (Harrisburg, Pa./Trinity)  on consecutive possessions. The Brown and White would continue to pour it on the Minutewomen after Murray drained another trifecta to make the score 17-2, with 13:20 to go in the first half.

A three-pointer by Erica Schiefen ( Elmira Heights, N.Y./Thomas A. Edison) and a driving lay-in by Armelia Horton (Harlem, N.Y./Murry Bergtraum) would further extend the Bonnies lead up to 28-7 with 6:57 remaining in the first.

A free throw by Stefanie Gerardot would end a UMass scoring drought of just over five minutes and bring the Minutewomen within 20, at 28-8.

UMass would close the gap slightly with an 11-6 run over the next two minutes of the half. A lay-in by Gerardot would make the score 34-19.

St. Bonaventure would respond with a 10-2 run of its own to end the first half. A pair of Priscilla Edwards’ (Harlem, N.Y./Frederick Douglass Academy) free throws would put the Brown and White up 44-21 going into half.

The Bonnies 44 first half points were a new season-high. A huge contributor to the Brown and White’s offensive explosion was points off turnovers, where they held a 25-2 advantage over UMass.

UMass would come out to score the first four points of the second half to bring the Bona lead down to 19, at 44-25.

A three-pointer by Schiefen would push the Brown and White’s lead back up over 20, at 54-32, with 12:30 remaining in the game. Two free throws by Gustafson would give the Bonnies their largest lead of the game, at 58-32, with 10:02 left in the game.

That is where the St. Bonaventure lead would stay for the remainder of the game, as UMass never got within 21 points of the Bonnies the rest of the way.

For the game, the Brown and White shot 44 percent (20-46) from the field and 83 percent (20-24) from the charity stripe.

UMass drops to 8-10 on the season and 1-2 in A-10 play after the loss. The Minutewomen were led by Gerardot, who scored a game-high 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field. As a team, the Bonnies defense held UMass to just 30 percent (15-49) from the field and 11 percent (2-19) from the three-point line for the game.

The Brown and White will be back in action, as they look to move to 3-0 in A-10 play for the first time in program history, on Tuesday, January, 20 when they travel to Virginia to take on Richmond University.