FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Junior Jessica Jenkins scored 17 points to guide a trio of St. Bonaventure double-figure scorers, and the women's basketball team (9-4) used a 13-0 run near the end of the first half to pull away and coast to a 62-54 win over Sacred Heart (7-5) Tuesday afternoon at the William H. Pitt Center.
With the Bonnies down 19-18 late in the first half, junior Megan Van Tatenhove hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to spearhead the 13-0 spurt, which was capped by a Jenkins' 3. Van Tatenhove's 3 with 6:19 left gave the Bonnies the lead for good, as they then settled into their trademark defense and shot a season-best 52.4 percent from the field to win their eighth game in the last 10 tries.
Another Jenkins' 3 with 17:09 remaining in the second half gave the Bonnies a 12-point lead at 36-24, and they held that double-digit point cushion the rest of the night until two Pioneer free throws with 22 seconds remaining decided the game's final margin.
After scoring just 46 total points in its win against UTSA on Dec. 21, the Bonnies jumped out to a 10-0 lead not even three minutes into the contest, and held a 16-4 advantage before Sacred Heart started to make a run.
The Pioneers held the Bonnies scoreless for six minutes as they went on a 15-2 stretch to erase that early deficit and take a 19-18 lead at the 6:48 mark before the Bonnies delivered their game-changing run to close the half.
"I thought we really passed the ball as well today as we have all year," head coach Jim Crowley said as his team snapped Sacred Heart's four-game winning streak. "They pressed us for 40 minutes, and for the most part we handled it well. I thought we really found open people better than we have all year, and fortunately those people knocked shots down."
One of those players knocking down shots was Jenkins, who hit a season-high-tying five 3-pointers. Van Tatenhove finished with 14 points and a game-high-tying six rebounds, and sophomore Alaina Walker used a plethora of drives and conversions from the free throw line in the second half to tie her season high with 10 points.
Sacred Heart was paced by junior Callan Taylor who finished with a game-high 21 points and game-high-tying six boards. Senior Maggie Cosgrove was the lone other Pioneer to get into double figures as she finished with 10.
Both teams entered the game averaging below 60 points per contest, with Sacred Heart at 59.9 and St. Bonaventure at 57.9. The Pioneers were also 0-4 on the year, now 0-5, when they fail to score 60, and 7-0 when they get over that plateau. The Bonnies were able to hold the Northeast Conference member below that thanks in large part to a 30.4-percent performance in the first half. On the year, the Bonnies have allowed just two opponents to score more than 60 points.
Holding another opponent below 60 will be exactly what the Bonnies try to do on Thursday evening when they face their toughest challenge to date in West Virginia. The 12-0 Mountaineers head into the Reilly Center ranked No. 6/7 in the nation, and will represent the highest ranked opponent the Bonnies have ever faced in the RC. Tipoff on Thursday is slated for 7.
Game Notes: Sacred Heart senior captain Alisa Apo did not play after suffering an injury in the Pioneers last game at Harvard … the Preseason All-NEC First Team selection is second on the team in scoring (11.8) and ranks in the top four in SHU history in points scored, assists, 3-pointers made and free throws made … the Bonnies have now won six straight games in New England, dating back to a 56-48 loss at Rhode Island on Jan. 19, 2008 … the Bonnies 66.7-percent performance from beyond the 3-point line is a season high … in the middle of the Bona 13-0 run, junior Jennie Ashton converted her second and-1 of the year, and now has 11 points on the year, a new season best for her.