PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/12/2017 – The city rivals met in the final Big 5 game of the season. It was also a collision of two of the hotter teams in the Atlantic 10. The teams came into the game tied for fifth-place, a half-game out of the fourth spot, the last bye into the league tournament quarterfinal.
The Hawks get a 67 – 58 win at the Hagan Arena and with it third place in the Big Five. In addition Saint Joe’s moves into a tie for fourth place in the league with Fordham.
“We knew what was at stake, we knew we were tied with La Salle in the standings, so we knew this was a big one,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “I thought our kids came out strong.”
“For us it is taking one game at a time and staying focused, and understanding what our strengths are, and what we can control.”
Saint Joseph’s took the lead for good at the end of the first quarter. The lead was 36 – 27 at halftime, and extended to double digits after three. The Hawks held the lead despite an Explorer charge late that cut the deficit to 6 with just over two minutes to play. It was important for Saint Joe’s to hold the lead down the stretch.
“You knew La Salle was going to go on a run, they’re talented enough,” Coach Griffin said. “Resistance is one thing our team has done a good job of. In this stretch when teams have pushed us, we’ve been pushing back. That’s a sign of a competitive nature, a sign of refusing to lose.”
The game was played close to the basket. SJU took 39 field goal attempts in the two-point range. Overall, the Hawks were 21 – 47 (44.7%) and went 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. LSU took 54 shots inside the arc. The Explorers shot 23 – 60 (38.3%) and made one of six from distance. The inside game also leads to many whistles. There were 41 fouls called in the game.
The forwards carried the offensive load for Saint Joseph’s led by Adashia Franklyn who scored 17 points. Sarah Villeaux contributed 16 points. Amanda Fioravanti added 11 points and a team-high 6 rebounds. Chelsea Woods had 10 points.
“It’s a pride thing,” said Franklyn about the play of the bigs. “We want to out work our opponents and be better. If we do those little things it contributes to the larger goal. We play hard and refuse to lose.”
Amy Griffin scored a game-high 24 points and a contest-best 9 rebounds for the Explorers. Griffin added 4 assists and a career-mark with 4 blocked shots. Adreana Miller scored 10 points, and Jasmine Alston had a game-high 6 assists.
La Salle is 15 – 10 for the year, 8 – 5 in the Atlantic 10, and finish the city series at 1 – 3. LSU still has an impressive 6 wins over the last 8 games.
The Hawks, who wore pink as part of Breast Cancer Awareness, stand a 12 – 13 for the season and 9 – 4 in conference. SJU ends the Big Five portion of the schedule at 2 – 2, and won 5 of the last 6 games. The team has shown improvement and now are in position to advance to the conference quarterfinal round.
Written By: Glenn Papazian