PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/29/2018 – This was the first ever meeting between the Saint Joseph’s Hawks and the Columbia Lions in women’s basketball. Maybe there should be more? The Hawks found a way to win defeating the Lions 68 – 61 in overtime. It is important for Saint Joe’s to get wins in such a manner.
“We’ve been in a lot of close games so far,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “We’ve been in a lot of possession games and we will be in a lot of possession games. We have to continue to get better at the end of games.”
Each team had the upper hand. Saint Joseph’s retook the lead in the fourth quarter. A lead that grew to as many as 8 points behind 8 consecutive points by Kristalyn Baisden. However, her basket at the 4:01 mark was the last points the Hawks would score until Baisden made one of two free throws at the 27.8 mark to give her team a two-point lead. Columbia would tie it at 54 on a reverse layup by Riley Casey with 15.5 on the clock. SJU took the lead early in the extra period and held it by making 7 of 10 free throws over the last 37.7 seconds, 5 of 6 from Alyssa Monaghan.
With all of the twists and turns in the game, it came down to the Hawks creating turnovers and getting steals. The Lions turned the ball over 24 times leading to a 26 – 4 edge for SJU in points off turnovers. SJU stole the ball a season-high 17 times. Seven Hawk players had steals.
“The more aggressive we are, the more productive we are,” Griffin said about causing turnovers. “Getting some easy baskets have been hard to come by. To get the deflections and the steals, if they turn into points or not, you want them to turn into points but if they don’t, you get another possession. We would like to get more possessions.”
“It’s a good thing because it means we are playing good defense,” Monaghan said about the number of steals. “We are being active and that’s what we want to do. It makes the defense lead to offense.”
Of the ten players who were on the floor for Saint Joseph’s, seven scored. Monaghan had a team-best 16 points, while Baisden chipped in with 14. Jekot scored 13 points.
“It helps a lot having Kristalyn and Katie making their shots.” said Monaghan about other players contributing to the offense and everyone pitching in.”
Sienna Durr also had 16 points in the game to lead the Lions. Janiya Clemmons scored in double figures getting 11.
On the boards the Lions were dominant outrebounding the Hawks 46 – 34, 17 – 13 on the offensive glass to have a 38 – 20 advantage in the paint. Durr pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds as she recorded her first double-double of the year. Mayock corralled 8 misses for the Hawks.
Both teams tend to shoot three-pointers as a focal point of their offense. Columbia is averaging over 68 points per game and 43% of their shots come from beyond the arc. The Hawks are over 35% of threes taken per game. Conventional wisdom said the game would be decided outside the arc. Not so. Saint Joseph’s took more three-pointers 33 – 17 and made more 11 – 3. Columbia scored more inside. Controlling the Lions three-point shooting was key for the Hawks.
“Coming in I saw some of them shooting forty percent from three,” Griffin observed about Columbia being able to shoot from distance. “When you can shoot them from four spots on the court, it is definitely concerning. We did take that away. They beat us on penetration, but we were able to learn from that and forced them to make tougher shots.”
Saint Joseph’s (3 – 4) has won back to back games for the first time this season. The Hawks return to the Hagan Arena on Sunday facing arch rival Villanova in a Big Five battle.
“A win in overtime at this time of the season will give us confidence going forward,” Griffin said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian