PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/12/2014 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks broke away midway through the second half behind a 17 – 5 run to earn a 76 – 63 win over the La Salle Explorers at the Hagan Arena. While most of the crowd thought about the pending snow storm, the Hawks kept their focus on getting the ball to the basket. In the decisive run Saint Joe’s had 12 points on layups.
“It is something that we have been working on, getting the ball into the paint, making plays when we have an advantage to take advantage of the advantages that we have,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin about the importance of their ability to get into transition and getting inside. “We were able to do that. Ashley Robinson had a great game around the basket. We found her. Erin (Shields) did a great job on penetration, Natasha (Cloud) the same thing. When we are doing those things, we are really hard to guard.”
The Hawks looked inside and were able to out-score the Explorers in the paint by a 34 – 30 margin. Saint Joseph’s junior forward Ashley Robinson benefited scoring a season-high 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting, one shy of her career-high. When the inside game was working it opened up the outside for the hosts. Senior guard Erin Shields scored a game-high 22 points making 4 of 7 from beyond the arc.
“When we are in transition we are playing our best basketball,” said Robinson. “Once you get the ball inside it opens the outside. We did a good job of that tonight.”
Saint Joe’s had an 11 – 4 edge in fast break points, and won the points off turnovers battle 19 – 7.
A three-pointer by freshman guard Micahya Owens brought La Salle to within 51 – 47 with 11:55 to play. Saint Joseph’s turned up their defense and held La Salle to 5 points in the decisive run over 7:37. A layup by junior guard Natasha Cloud gave the Hawks their largest lead at 68 – 52 with 4:18 to play.
“During that stretch when we were getting points, and we were also getting stops,” Shields said about the run. “We were finishing plays that we were having a problem with in the past.”
For La Salle junior guard Alicia Cropper scored a team-high 20 points, 15 in the first half. Owens had 15 for the Explorers, 11 in the second half. Forward Leeza Burdgess registered double-figures with 13 points.
Cloud scored 17 points while taking down 7 rebounds and handing out 7 assists for the Hawks.
Saint Joseph’s improves to 18 – 6 on the season and 7 – 4 in the Atlantic 10. The Hawks moved ahead of the Explorers in league standings and into fifth place. La Salle is 7 – 5 in A10 play and falls to 12 – 12 overall. It was the second win for Saint Joseph’s over La Salle this season. This game did not count in the Big Five series won this season by Saint Joe’s with a 4 – 0 record.
Saint Joseph’s prepares for a February 15 game at George Mason. La Salle travels to Fordham for the next game also on February 15.
Written By: Glenn Papazian