PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/3/12 – The Atlantic 10 Women’s quarterfinal action has concluded.
#1 St. Bonaventure Bonnies 68 #8 LaSalle Explorers 53
St. Bonaventure got off to a quick start taking a 16 – 2 lead, but LaSalle fought back behind 17 points from Junior guard Brittany Wilson to pull to within 27 – 25 at halftime. Again, a fast start by the Bonnies at the beginning of the second was not overcome at the top seed moves to the semifinal round for the first time in program history with a 68 – 53 win. The Bonnies scored 18 second half points before LaSalle got their first basket of the half to lead 45 – 29 with 11:12 to play. The Explorers were outscored in the second half by a 41 – 28 margin. 15 of the 28 Explorer second half points came at the foul line. For the game St. Bonaventure shot 21 – 48 (43.8%) while LaSalle was held to 15 – 61 (24.6%).
“We didn’t want to go down 16 – 2 because they’re a tough team,” said LaSalle Coach Jeff Williams. “It’s tough playing catch up because you use a lot of energy getting back in it. I was glad the kids showed composure. We were down 16 – 2, but we could have been down 30. We fought back. Brittany Wilson made some plays. We defended, but the name of the game is scoring, and we didn’t have enough people scoring the ball.”
Forward Megan Van Tatenhove led St. Bonaventure with 13 points, and guards Jessica Jenkins and Amelia Horton added 11. Cece Dixon and Chelsea Bowker had 10 each. For La Salle Wilson had a game-high 19 points with Senior guard Nadia Duncan added 10 points. 17 of Wilson’s points came in the first half.
The Explorers end the season with a 14 – 17 record, and look to improve going forward as they did this season.
“We have to keep working,” Williams said. “We played a tough schedule and threw the kids into the fire. We thought we left a couple of games we should have gotten in conference.”
#5 Saint Joseph’s Hawks 69 #4 Richmond Spiders 57
The Saint Joseph’s Hawks controlled the first half behind 14-28 shooting (50%) to take a 42 – 33 halftime lead. Richmond came out in the second half and forced a faster pace. The Spiders tied the game at 42 by scoring the first 9 points of the half.
“We tried to stay aggressive,” said Coach Saint Joseph;s Coach Cindy Griffin. “We’re better when we are aggressive. We used our quickness and size to our advantage. And we were smart. We learned from our last game against them. We learned form our mistakes, and we executed,”
The game took a back and forth nature where the teams matched basket for basket. While Saint Joseph’s could not pull away, they did not allow Richmond to make a further run. Eventually, the tempo was controlled by Saint Joseph’s, and the defense controlled the Richmond offense. In an eight minute stretch Richmond had only one field goal. The Hawks got out to a ten point lead and protected it the rest of the way to earn the win.
“It was very important,” said Saint Joseph’s guard Michelle Baker. “I believed in our game plan and never faltered.”
Saint Joseph’s used balance scoring as eight players scored in the contest. Baker led the Hawks with a game-high 20 points. Junior guard Ashley Prim added 15 points. Senior forward Kelly Cavallo had 8 points and 8 rebounds. Richmond forward Genevieve Okoro scored 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Guard Rachael Bilney had 14 points, and guard Becca Wann scored 12 points and got 6 rebounds.
Saint Joseph’s earns a game against St. Bonaventure in the semifinal round.
#2 Temple Owls 64 #7 Duquesne Dukes 55
This game was the most physical by far, and it seemed that Temple was not ready to play. But a second half surge that used elements of offense and defense propelled the Owls to a 64 – 55 win over Duquesne. The Dukes took a 39 – 31 lead with 14:25 on the clock. Temple appeared to be in trouble. Then senior guard Shey Peddy began to assert herself. Peddy keyed a 8 – 0 run to tie the game at 39. She had 6 points in the run. While trying to make an off-balance layup, Peddy injured her nose and went to the locker room for repairs. Senior guard B.J. Williams took up the slack scoring back to back baskets that allowed Temple to keep pace.
Returning to the game Peddy took over scoring 14 consecutive points for the Owls. She had a sense of urgency about her play.
“I realized I didn’t want this to be my last game,” said Peddy. “We felt like we could have been beaten. We all just came together and got it.”
Meanwhile Temple clamped down defensively not allowing a field goal by Duquesne until there was 1:16 remaining. The Dukes had only 7 free throws in 13 minutes of play.
“We knew we had to buckle down if their best player was getting wide open three’s, that’s not a good thing,” said Temple Coach Tonya Cardoza. “We talked about making sure that we were committed on the defensive end. If we were committed and could get stops, we could get some open baskets in transition and not allow them to set up in their defense. We did a much better job of communicating.”
Peddy scored a game-high 30 points. She scored 27 in the second half. Williams scored 12 points and handed out 6 assists. Junior center Victoria Macaulay had 8 points and 12 rebounds. Duquesne had three double figures scorers. Forward Wumi Agunbiade had a team-high 21 points. Forward Orsi Szecsi scored 11 points and added 12 rebounds. Guard Alex Gensler scored 13 points.
The Owls get by a scare game and move on to the semifinals, and a game against Dayton.
“It was a great relief for us,” said Williams. “We thought in the first half we were going to blow them out. For that not to happen did something with our minds. But I thought we handled it great. Duquesne is a tough team and they came out and played hard and smart. I thought we did a great job of fighting and showing our character in this game.”
“I was happy to survive and advance, that’s what March basketball is about, survive and advance,” said Cardoza.
Written By: Glenn Papazian