Box Score (PDF)
PHILADELPHIA – A valiant upset effort from the St. Bonaventure women's basketball team came up short in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament as sixth-seeded La Salle came away with a 73-70 victory Saturday at Tom Gola Arena.
Though the Bonnies, seeded 11th, trailed by 11 early and by nine in the fourth quarter, they battled back and had an opportunity in the waning seconds to tie or take the lead.
The Explorers (17-12) led, 66-57, following a jumper by Micahya Owens with 3:42 to play.
Bona rallied, however, as a pair of Gabby Richmond layups and two free throws from Mckenna Maycock made it a 68-63 score. As the clock ticked under two minutes, Mariah Ruff drained a long three to pull within two, 68-66, and the Bonnies defense forced a La Salle turnover on the next possession.
St. Bonaventure worked inside on its next two possessions, but a pair of layups went off the mark as the Bonnies looked to tie.
La Salle's Adreana Miller made five three throws in the final 75 seconds, but the Bonnies had one last gasp.
Richmond drove past the basket underneath, throwing in an over-the-shoulder layup for a 70-68 score with 16 seconds left. Forced to foul after a quick attempt at a steal on the in-bound pass, Miller then sank a pair at the line for a two-score game.
As the seconds ticked away, Ruff went to the basket for a quick two and a 72-70 score with nine seconds to go. Again Miller was fouled, making one of two to leave the door open. A three-attempt to tie with one second remaining went off the iron, though, allowing La Salle to escape.
"At the end of the day we just couldn't get a stop," St. Bonaventure head coach Jesse Fleming said. "I'm proud of the kids and the way they competed, but our defense let us down at the end of the season. We couldn't keep La Salle off the foul line late in the game. We were always one stop away."
Ruff netted a game-high 22 points for the Bonnies, adding four assists. Richmond closed her Bonaventure career with a double-double effort of 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for her seventh double-double of the year. Maycock gave Bona a third double-figure scorer with 10 points in a career-high 39 minutes.
La Salle looked every part the host seed in the early going, using a 7-0 run for a quick 10-4 lead and ultimately seizing a 19-8 advantage after the first 10 minutes.
St. Bonaventure turned the tables in the second quarter, though as Matea Britvar scored the first six points of the period to ignite an 11-0 run for a 19-19 tie.
The Bonnies soon grabbed their first lead of the game. On back-to-back possessions, Ruff drained a three from the left wing and Richmond finished a put-back for a 26-24 score at the 2:33 mark of the second.
Bona ultimately outscored La Salle by a 24-9 margin during the second quarter, heading to intermission with a 32-28 edge.
Unfortunately for the Bonnies, the momentum pendulum swung back in favor of the Explorers in the third. After a pair of free throws from Maycock at the 8:02 mark of the third gave Bona a 36-32 lead, La Salle then embarked on a 12-0 run to re-take the advantage, 44-36, thanks to six straight points from Lisa Mintzer.
"They just kept running side ball screen. We wanted to get (Amy) Griffin and (Jasmine) Alston away from the basket," Fleming said. "I was disappointed there were about three times (Mintzer) just slipped to the rim and that's something we had worked on."
A late third quarter push brought the visitors back to a 50-47 score heading for the fourth, but another 6-0 break from La Salle gave the hosts a 56-47 lead a minute and a half into the final quarter.
Miller finished with 20 points for La Salle while Mintzer had 16 points and Alston handed out 13 assists. Griffin, the A-10's leading scorer, had a quiet day of six points.
Saturday's game was the final contest for Richmond, who finishes her collegiate career with 943 points, seventh all-time in Bonnies history with 638 rebounds and third all-time in program history with 90 blocks.
"Gabby always brought us energy. She just kept competing all year even when it would have been easy to check out," Fleming said.
For a young Bonaventure team, Saturday marked the conclusion of a building season.
"Our young ones got some good experience in a big game. It's a learning experience and I hope they understand the level that it takes in big-time games," Fleming said. "The kids gave me a lot even when things weren't going well, but now the focus is 100 percent on next year."
- Saturday was the fourth-ever meeting between the Bonnies and La Salle in the Atlantic 10 Championship. The Bonnies were 2-1 in the previous three games.
- The Bonnies had a starting lineup of Mariah Ruff, Jalisha Terry, Mckenna Maycock, Gabby Richmond and Sarah Hart for the second straight game.
- Britvar had eight points and five rebounds off the bench while Sarah Hart added seven points in 28 minutes.
- Along with Richmond, Saturday's game was also the final contest in the career of senior Imani Outlaw.
- Bona shot 45.5 percent (25-55) while La Salle was at 46.6 percent (27-58) from the floor. Both teams went 4-10 from long range.
- Ruff finished the season with 111 assists, marking back-to-back seasons of 100+ assists for the junior guard. Prior to last year, no Bonnies player had 100 or more in a season since current assistant coach Andrea (Doneth) Mulcahy did so in 2007-08.
- Richmond's 38 blocks this year rank tied third in Bonnies single season history. Her 943 career points place her 24th on the program's all-time scoring list.
- Ruff closes the season by moving into 25th in Bonnies all-time scoring with 935 career points through three seasons.
- Freshman Jalisha Terry's 211 points this season are the most by a Bona freshman since Ruff finished the 2014-15 season with the exact same total.
For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @Go_Bonnies and get women's basketball updates @BonniesWBB. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.