PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/31/2017 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks women’s basketball team opened Atlantic 10 play with a victory defeating the VCU Rams 79 – 41 at the Hagan Arena. By winning the Hawks break a seven-game losing streak that lasted all of December, until now.
It was a complete effort for Saint Joseph’s who made over half of their field goal tries, the least amount of points surrendered, and earned a huge advantage off the glass.
“I look at the rebounding, play defense limiting them to one shot,” said Saint Joseph’s coach Cindy Griffin. “We rebounded well in the zone, and that was big for us.”
The Hawks were led by forward Sarah Veilleux who scored a game-high 20 points making 6 of 8 three-pointers, and tied a career-mark dishing out 5 assists. Guard Alyssa Monaghan was 4 of 9 from three-point land scoring 17 points, and she set a career-mark handing out 8 assists. Forward Chelsea Woods scored 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds registering her second double-double of the season.
Saint Joe’s were cold from deep early in the game. They found the range in the second half making 11 of 22 from beyond the arc. In the first half SJU was 3 of 9 from deep. The second half the sank 8 of 13 threes. Once the three-pointers started falling, it lifted the team.
“We all feel it when we start making our shots,” Veilleux said. “We get stops. It’s like a snowball effect.”
SJU had the lead in the first quarter and held it. The Rams made a charge in the third quarter cutting the Hawks advantage to 36 – 30 with 4:43 to play. The Hawks responded by scoring 16 of the next 18 points to widen the deficit to 20 points. Veilleux scored 9 points in the run.
“We started to get sloppy,” Griffin said. “We needed to regroup and were able to keep things simple, and get back to basics. For us that is making plays, not just one play, multiple plays both defensively and offensively.”
On the boards the Hawks pulled down 48 rebounds compared to 23 for the Rams. Forward Adashia Franklyn pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
Tera Reed led VCU with 12 points, their only double-digit scorer.
Saint Joseph’s (6 – 7, 1 – 0) travel to Saint Bonaventure for the next game on Wednesday. They will have a chance to create a new winning streak now that the losing streak is over.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Veilleux. “Offensively and defensively it seemed like we were on the same wave length. It was great to get that feeling back.”
“It was a great way to start Atlantic 10 play,” Griffin said. “We had some time to regroup and work on things. It was evident that break was good for us. I was proud how the kids came out and shot the ball with confidence.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian