BUFFALO, N.Y. – Chelsea Bowker scored a career-high 21 points, Jessica Jenkins finished in double figures for the first time in five games with 14 points and the women's basketball team (7-3) used an extended 14-3 second-half run to clinch its 12th straight win over a Big 4 school Friday night against Buffalo (4-5), 56-47.
With the game knotted at 30-30, Bowker took control. The sophomore got fouled and knocked down two free throws to give the Bonnies a 32-30 lead with 14:10 remaining. On the ensuing possession, the Salem, Ohio native connected from the right wing for 3 before capping her own personal 7-0 run with a driving lay-in to give the Bonnies a 37-30 lead that they would never again relinquish.
However, the Bona run didn't stop there. Jenkins scored five of St. Bonaventure's next seven points, and by the 5:50 mark the Bonnies had used that 14-3 run to open up a 44-33 advantage – the largest lead of the game.
From there, the Bonnies won the game exactly how they always want to – on the defensive end. Over a span of more than nine minutes, from 14:25 to 5:20, the Brown and White allowed Buffalo to score just four points, two of those from the free throw line, on their way to holding their third straight opponent to 50 points or fewer, and sixth on the year.
"This wasn't our finest effort, so it's rewarding that we still found a way to get a victory," head coach Jim Crowley said. "I thought the stretch shortly after they took the lead in the second half (that) we played really well. We defended really well and forced them to take some tired shots."
One player for the Bonnies who took a lot of shots even though she didn't make many was junior Megan Van Tatenhove. The Wisconsin product finished with just seven points on 1-of-12 shooting, breaking a streak of five straight games in double figures. But she didn't let her play on offense detract from her defensive effort, as she finished with a career-high six steals and also helped her teammates out with a career-high five assists.
Coming into the contest, the Bonnies knew they had to contain Bulls' senior standout Kourtney Brown. Brown entered the game averaging 21.5 points (11th in the nation) and 13 rebounds (2nd in the nation) per game, and St. Bonaventure – Van Tatenhove in particular – held her below both her averages. The Mid-American Conference's active leader in double-doubles finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, her lowest rebound total of the year.
Rebounding was another key in the Bonnies' win, as UB won the rebounding battle, 33-32, but fell well below its average of 43.8 per contest. Sophomore Alaina Walker once again led the rebounding charge as she finished with a team-high six, and freshman CeCe Dixon – who stands just 5-foot-3 – came off the bench to corral a career-high-tying five.
The Bonnies will now have a lengthy layoff before their next contest on Dec. 20 against perennial mid-major power Middle Tennessee State. The game will be played in San Antonio, Texas as part of the University of Texas-San Antonio Christmas Classic. St. Bonaventure will play the host Roadrunners the following night, Dec. 21.
Game Notes: St. Bonaventure finished with a season-high 12 steals … the Bonnies have now swept the Big 4 series from Niagara, Canisius and Buffalo each of the last three years … in six games, Bowker has been held to either zero or single-digit points, and in the other four games she has either tied or broken her career high each time … a group of about 15 people from Olean High School were in attendance to watch former Huskie Rachel Bantelman, now a freshman for UB. However, she did not even dress because of a concussion.