Jenkins Career Afternoon Fuels Bonnies To Victory Over Duquesne

Podcast post-game press conference (courtesy of The Intrepid: @Intrepid_SBU)

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y.
– On an afternoon when its leading scorer netted just four points, junior guard Jessica Jenkins finished with career highs of 31 points and eight 3-pointers to lead St. Bonaventure (16-10, 6-5 Atlantic 10) to a 70-63 win over Duquesne (20-5, 7-3 A-10) Saturday at the Reilly Center. The win avenged an earlier-season loss to the Dukes and snapped Duquesne's 12-game road winning streak – the most road wins in the entire nation this year.

Jenkins went 8-for-10 from the 3-point line and 7-of-8 from the free throw line in 37 minutes of action, finishing with St. Bonaventure's second 30-point game of the year. Classmate Megan Van Tatenhove, who recorded the first on Feb. 2 against Dayton with 35 points, was held to a season-low-tying four points against Duquesne.

But the Bonnies got additions from previously unseen commodities, including a career-high eight made free throws from sophomore Alaina Walker and career highs of eight rebounds and 22 minutes of game action from junior Jennie Ashton. Six of Ashton's caroms were offensive, 37.5 percent of Bonaventure's season-high 16 offensive boards.

Trailing 40-37 with 11:21 remaining in the game, St. Bonaventure utilized one of those offensive boards from Ashton to turn in a five-point possession which turned the game around. Walker slashed down the lane, converted her lay-in and got fouled. She missed the ensuing free throw, but Ashton grabbed the offense rebound to keep the possession alive. Freshman Doris Ortega rewarded the Texas native's effort by converting an and-1 layup and giving the Bonnies a 42-40 lead it wouldn't relinquish for the rest of the day.

Duquesne opened the game by jumping out to a 10-3 lead  and then held a 19-14 advantage before the Bonnies gradually started to chip away. Jenkins got the run going with a 3, and Ortega knotted the game for the first time at 23-23 with a layup.

Senior Cara Gustafson gave the Bonnies their first lead at 25-23 since it was 3-2 with a driving lay-in at the 1:40 mark. Bonaventure closed the half on an extended 16-5 run, capped by a Jenkins' 3 from the right wing just before the halftime buzzer.

"We've had some really good things happen to this program the last few years, but I don't know if I've ever been more proud of a group," head coach Jim Crowley said. "We were against it; we had a team coming in here that had won the most road games in the country, and we had some people who didn't play very well but we had some people that just delivered."

The Bonnies put four scorers into double digits for the fourth time this year as Walker, Ortega and Gustafson all finished with 10 points. For Ortega, it was her third career game in double figures, and all three have come in A-10 play. Gustafson cracked double figures for the first time since she finished with 12 against Massachusetts on Jan. 29.

The Dukes were led offensively by Alex Gensler who finished with 17, followed by 16 from Wumi Agunbiade and 11 from Samantha Pollino.

Van Tatenhove was saddled with foul trouble the entire game as she played a season-low 18 minutes. The Wisconsin product picked up two fouls not even seven minutes into the contest, and ended up with four calls against her on the afternoon in getting off a season-low-tying five field goal attempts.

The Bonnies will have a week off before returning to action next Saturday in New York City against Fordham. Tip-off against the Rams from Rose Hill Gym is set for 1 p.m.

Game Notes: St. Bonaventure went to the line a season-high 38 times (25-38, 65.8 percent) … Ashton started the second half for the first time in her career … Jenkins first 3 of the game was the 200th of her career … Duquesne has now had more turnovers than its opponent in all five of its losses … Bonaventure out-rebounded the Dukes, 34-32, and are now 12-2 when doing that … Duquesne shot 44 percent (22-50) from the floor, while the Bonnies shot 38.3 percent (18-47) … the win stopped a three-game losing streak for Bonaventure.