PHILADELPHIA, PA 3/10/2013 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks women’s basketball team were anxious to play the nationally ranked Dayton Flyers. The team knew it would be difficult to win, but got off to a good start, gained more confidence, and upset top seeded Dayton 61 – 54 to advance to the Atlantic 10 final in Brooklyn next Sunday. SJU needed a full-out effort, and got it according to Coach Cindy Griffin.
“We did an unbelieveable job on defense against a very talented team,” said Griffin. “We got off to a good start offensively making shots, the more shots we made the more confident we got. We stepped up.”
From the start of the game the Hawks played with the fervor they would need to be able to win. Senior center Chatilla van Grinsven started by scoring the first six points of the game, then junior guard Erin Shields made a three-pointer at the 18:11 mark to give the Hawks a 9 – 0 lead. Saint Joseph’s kept the lead despite getting into some foul trouble. The bench came to the rescue for the Hawks as reserves Ilze Gotfrida and Mireia Vila scored a total of 10 points to give Saint Joe’s a 35 – 24 halftime lead.Having played a lost to Dayton a week earlier the Hawks knew the Flyers were going to make a run in the second half. The Flyers did getting to within 44 – 40 with 11:37 to play on a jumper by Sophomore guard Andrea Hoover, who was the co-leading scorer for the Flyers with 11 points. It was a key sequence as senior guard Ashley Prim stole the ball and fed sophomore guard Natasha Cloud on a fast break. Cloud missed the layup, and van Grinsven picked up her fourth foul on the rebound. However, Gotfrida struck again with back to back jumpers to increase the lead back to 8 points.
“Our bench did an unbelievable job outscoring their bench,” said Griffin. “They came in and gave us quality minutes. It helped us keep the momentum, it helped us to get rest when we needed to get some rest. The kids stepped up.”
Dayton went on an 11 – 4 run from that point to get to within a point at 52 – 51 with 2:45 to play. Saint Joe’s answered with a jumper by van Grinsven at the 2:12 mark. The Hawks closed the game by making 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch, a perfect 6 for 6 by Shields, to secure a trip to Brooklyn.
“They wanted this game a lot more than we did, and were a lot tougher taking it to us from the opening tap,” said Dayton Coach Jim Jabir. “We didn’t have an answer. We were out of sorts from beginning of the game to the end.”
Saint Joseph’s shot 25 – 65 from the floor (38.5%), and had 20 assists on their 25 field goals. The Hawks outrebounded the Flyers by a 42 – 32 margin, 1`5 – 7 on the offensive end. Saint Joe’s was led by van Grinsven with a double-double scoring 19 points and taking down 10 rebounds (4 offensive). The senior also handed out 5 assists. Prim scored 8 points and was credited with 5 assists and a career-high 13 rebounds. Kelley Austria also scored 11 points for Dayton.
The Saint Joseph’s Hawks are going to the Atlantic 10 final. Getting to the final is quite significant for Saint Joseph’s and their senior class.
“It means a lot,” said Prim. “I’m very excited to go. Just getting there is great for us. We want one more.”
Will Brooklyn be treated to a Big Five game? Stay tuned for the next story.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
To Follow the Atlantic 10 Women’s Tournament, click the link below to the Atlantic 10 Championship site.