The Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Tournament began at the Richmond Coliseum. The two Philadelphia schools took part in opening round action. Both the Saint Joseph’s Hawks and La Salle Explorers advanced to the quarterfinal round. The 5th seeded Hawks cruised past the George Mason Patriots 89 – 55. La Salle, the 7 seed, defeated the #10 Saint Louis Billikens by a 65 – 56 count.
#5 Saint Joseph’s 89 George Mason 55 – The Hawks took their first step in defending their champion by sharing the ball and placing five players in double figures. Senior forward Kelsey Berger set a career-high mark scoring 15 points in the game. She was joined by fellow senior Ilze Gotfrida (14 points), junior forward Ashley Robinson (13 points), sophomore guard Ciara Andrews (12 points) and sophomore forward Sarah Fairbanks (12 points). As a team Saint Joe’s shot 50% from the floor (28 of 56) and made 6 of 11 from three-point land. The Hawks assisted 18 times on their 26 baskets. Senior guard Erin Shields was credited with 6 assists while junior guard Natasha Cloud had 5 assists and 9 rebounds.
SJU started quickly jumping out to a 10 – 2 lead that grew into a 38 – 25 halftime lead. George Mason shot just 26.5% (9 of 34) in the first half, and 27.4% (17 of 62) for the game. Janna Pickard and Taylor Brown had 15 points each for the Patriots.
Saint Joseph’s moves on to a Friday matchup against the 4th seeded George Washington Colonials.
#7 La Salle 65 #10 Saint Louis 56 – Freshman guard and Atlantic 10 All-Rookie honoree Micahya Owens tied her career-high of 23 points for the Explorers in their opening round victory. Forward Alicia Cropper added 20 points in the contest.
LSU’s Leeza Burdgess registered a double-double with 10 points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds, while Jasmine Alston had 12 rebounds. For the game La Salle out-rebounded Saint Louis by a 47 – 31 margin.
Desirae Ball led the Billikens with 16 points.
La Salle goes on to a Friday contest against the 2nd seeded Bonnies of Saint Bonaventure, a team the Explorers upset a week ago.
Written By: Glenn Papazian