Game Notes: St. Bona | Kent State | A-10
Sunday Afternoon's Matchup
St. Bonaventure wraps up its non-conference schedule Sunday afternoon at 1:30 when it hosts the 9-2 Golden Flashes of Kent State. The Bonnies are coming off a narrow defeat to No. 6/7 West Virginia Thursday evening, 62-53, and will be looking for their 10th win of the season. With a victory, Bonaventure will claim its fifth straight year of double-digit non-conference wins, continuing the longest streak in program history. The only other year aside from the previous four years that St. Bonaventure claimed double-digit non-conference wins was 1992-93 when it won 11. Kent State will also conclude its non-conference slate today, as the Golden Flashes come in winners of their last three, including a 66-60 triumph over Robert Morris on Wednesday night. The two teams first met in the 1999-2000 season, and matched up every year after that for six years. This will be the first meeting since the 2007-08 campaign.
Last Time Out
St. Bonaventure led for the majority of the game, but 47 second-half points by No. 6/7 West Virginia (13-0) was too much for the Bonnies to overcome as the Mountaineers kept their record unblemished with a 62-53 win Thursday night in the Reilly Center.
For the second straight game, St. Bonaventure matches up with an opponent that scores more than 70 points per outing and gives up fewer than 60. Kent State comes in averaging 72.3 points per game while holding its opponents to 57.5. The Bonnies have only gotten over the 70-point plateau twice this year, winning the majority of their games on the defensive end as they hold their opposition to just 52.4 points per contest. In the first half of their upset bid of No. 6/7 West Virginia Thursday night, the Bonnies held a Mountaineer offense that was averaging 70.1 points per game to just 15 points in the first half before they exploded for 47 second-half points.
Scouting Kent State
-- Kent State is currently ranked No. 19 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25, one of five Mid-American Conference schools ranked
-- Both of the Golden Flashes losses this year have come on the road: Dec. 4 against Saint Francis (Pa.), 101-92, and Dec. 7 opposite Western Kentucky, 77-68
-- Kent State returns seven letterwinners, but just two starters, from a team which went 20-11 last year and advanced to the WNIT
-- Head coach Bob Lindsay won his 400th career game earlier this year when Kent State downed Florida Atlantic on Dec. 21, 82-53
-- Kent State leads the MAC in field goal percentage, currently connecting at a .460 clip
St. Bonaventure vs. Kent State
Series Quick Facts
Overall: Kent State Leads, 5-3
At St. Bonaventure: Tied, 2-2
At Kent State: Kent State Leads, 3-1
At Neutral Site: N/A
Most St. Bonaventure Points: 78 (Nov. 19, 2000: 92-78)
Most Kent State Points: 92 (Nov. 19, 2000: 92-78)
Fewest St. Bonaventure Points: 45 (Dec. 28, 1999: 85-45)
Fewest Kent State Points: 44 (Nov. 24, 2002: 67-44)
Largest St. Bonaventure Margin: 23 (Nov. 24, 2002: 67-44)
Largest Kent State Margin: 40 (Dec. 28, 1999: 85-45)
Those looking for the benchmark of success when it comes to Mid-American Conference basketball need to look no further than Kent State head coach Bob Lindsay. For over two decades, Lindsay has built the Kent State women's basketball program as the gold standard in the MAC. Along he way, Lindsay has amassed more victories (392) than any MAC basketball coach in history – men's or women's.
Through 21 seasons at the helm of the Golden Flashes, Lindsay has also procured 244 Mid-American Conference wins, more than 100 wins in front of the nearest coach on the women's side and nearly 50 victories in front of Miami men's basketball coach, Charlie Coles. Over his last 18 years, Lindsay has put together 12 20-win seasons with the Golden Flashes. He also has led Kent State to four NCAA Tournament appearances since 1996 and six postseason berths overall.
During the 2009-10 campaign, Lindsay surpassed Toledo long-time men's basketball mentor Bob Nichols (375 wins) as the MAC's most-victorious basketball coach. Of note, the nearest coach on the women's side in terms of career victories, Toledo's Mark Ehlen, has just 61 percent of Lindsay's total (392 to 240). Compared to active coaches, Bowling Green's Curt Miller has just 53 percent of Lindsay's total victories (392 to 206).
All-Time Against The MAC
St. Bonaventure owns a 23-18 all-time record against schools from the Mid-American Conference. St. Bonaventure has played the University at Buffalo the most, in addition to every single team in the East Division. It has only played one school from the West Division, Eastern Michigan, and trails that series 0-1. Earlier this year, the Bonnies went to Buffalo and defeated the Bulls, 56-47, on Dec. 10.
After holding West Virginia to 15 first-half points on Thursday night, the Mountaineers blitzed the Bona defense for 47 second-half points. The 15 points was the fewest WVU had scored in the first half all year, and also was a season-low-tying total for the Bonaventure defense. On the other hand, the 47 points is the most Bona's has given up in any half this year. In that second half, the Mountaineers also shot 66.7 percent, the highest total any opponent has shot against St. Bonaventure in a half this year.
Uncharacteristically Shut Down
Team leading scorer Megan Van Tatenhove was shut out from the field Thursday night against West Virginia when she went 0-9. The junior still managed to hit six free throws, but ended with a season-low point total. Her oh-for from the floor marked the first time since Feb. 21, 2009 during her freshman year that she did not make a shot. In that loss to George Washington, Van Tatenhove went 0-4 from the floor. Three other times in her freshman campaign she failed to make a shot in a game, going 0-1 from the floor in all three games.
Still A December to Remember
Despite its loss to West Virginia on Thursday night, St. Bonaventure still won six games in the month of December for the fifth time in program history. Four of those times have come in the last five years, with the 2008-09 season being the only time since 2005-06 the Bonnies failed to win six games in December.
In four of its last six games, nine Bona players have logged double-figure minutes. The most notable addition to the rotation has been junior Jennie Ashton, who after playing just 43 total minutes in her first two seasons has already played 97 in 13 games this year. The Austin, Texas, native logged a career-high 19 minutes in the Bonnies' win at Sacred Heart on Tuesday, and has scored 11 points this year after netting just a combined 13 in her first two campaigns.
In that game against Sacred Heart, St. Bonaventure put in one of its best offensive performance of the year. While the Bonnies scored just 62 points – their sixth-highest point total of the year – they shot a season-best 52.4 percent from the field and a season-best 66.7 percent from the 3-point line. All nine Bonnies who played scored, marking the first time all year that nine-plus players saw action and all scored in a game.
You Gotta Know When To Hold 'Em; Know When To Fold 'Em
Despite turning the ball over only 14.9 times a game, not a single St. Bonaventure player has a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. Freshman CeCe Dixon is close, as she has issued 19 assists while coughing up The Rock 19 times, for exactly a 1.00 ratio. Redshirt junior Armelia Horton currently has 39 dimes and 40 giveaways, for a 0.98 ratio.
Among The Nation's Best
As a team, St. Bonaventure is the fourth-best free shooting club in the entire nation, currently connecting at an 80-percent clip. Both Megan Van Tatenhove (88.5 percent) and Armelia Horton (86.3 percent) rank inside the top-30 free-throw shooters in the country. The Bonnies also rank in the top-15 in the nation in turnovers per game, currently giving the ball away just 14.9 times a game – good for 13th best in the nation.
After finishing 2009-10 as the 7th-best ball-protecting team in the country with just 13.6 turnovers per game, the Bonnies are nearly equaling that total so far this year as they are giving the ball away just 14.9 times per contest. However, the more symbolic figure from that statistic is that in all five of its losses St. Bonaventure has turned the ball over more times than its opponent, and is 6-0 when it has fewer.
Looking For Another Sub-30
Four times this year already St. Bonaventure has held its opponent below 30-percent shooting. St. Bonaventure held Quinnipiac to 27.8 percent in its win on Nov. 21. Three days later, the Bonnies held Niagara to just 28.8 percent, including a 20.8-percent clip in the second half. Against Marist on Dec. 4, the Bonnies held the Red Foxes to a season-low 28.6 percent, and against Canisius on Dec. 7 they did the same thing as they held the Griffs to just 29.4 percent. The Bonnies held just one opponent below 30-percent shooting last season when they finished as the 9th-toughest scoring defense in the country at just 52.7 points per game.
National Trend Setters
St. Bonaventure turned the ball over just four times in its win against Lafayette on Dec. 1, setting the record for fewest turnovers by any team in the country so far this year. It also breaks a regular-season program record of six, set last year in a win over George Washington. The program record for turnovers is three, also set last year in the Bonnies' final game of the season in a loss to visiting Northwestern in the second round of the WNIT. Within the Atlantic 10 Conference, the four turnovers ties St. Bonaventure for the second fewest in the history of the league with Duquesne. Saint Joseph's and Temple share the record with just three giveaways.
A (Relative) Texas-Sized Homecoming
Austin native Jennie Ashton returned to her home state of Texas last week, and left with back-to-back career nights in front of family and friends. On Dec. 20 against Middle Tennessee State, she nearly doubled her career high in points as she finished with a career-best five in 10 minutes. The following night she again logged 10 minutes, marking the first time in her career she had played double-figure minutes in consecutive games.
Triple Threat Triathlete
Head coach Jim Crowley challenged sophomore Chelsea Bowker to get into better playing shape following the end of last year. So, the Salem, Ohio native did just that by training with a triathlete all summer. She's now starting to see the work pay off, as she's tied or broken her career high in points four times already this year, including five 3-pointers in the Bona win at Marist on Dec. 4, and then equally that career high at Buffalo on Dec. 10.
A Little Bit Of Everything
Junior Megan Van Tatenhove had her streak of scoring in double figures snapped at five games on Dec. 10 at Buffalo, but the Wisconsin product found a way to make up for it in other ways. The team's leading scorer dished out five assists and got into the act defensively as she had six steals, establishing career highs in both categories along the way. She then followed that up by getting back into double-figure scoring with point totals of 21 and 12 against Middle Tennessee State and UTSA, respectively, in the UTSA Holiday Classic; good enough to place her on the All-Tournament Team.
Deadly From Distance
Jessica Jenkins is rapidly moving up the St. Bonaventure career 3-point list. The junior currently sits in fourth place on the all-time list with 165 made 3's, and if she continues at the pace she has the last two seasons, will head into her senior year in sole possession of third place.
So far this year, Chelsea Bowker has either had career nights for the Bonnies, or done her best Harry Houdini impression. In nine games, the sophomore forward has been held to zero or single-digits points. However, in her other four games she has had career outings. Bowker started this year with point totals of three, six and zero in the team's first three games, respectively. However, the Salem, Ohio native then exploded for a then-career-high 16 points against Quinnipiac on Nov. 21. But then she disappeared for the next two games, scoring one and six points, respectively. Bowker re-appeared on Dec. 1 opposite Lafayette when she tied her career high with 16 points. She then followed that performance up with a career-best 17 points against Marist on Dec. 4 before pulling another Houdini in her next outing on Dec. 7 versus Canisius when she finished with just two points. And then in the team's next game against Buffalo on Dec. 10 she eclipsed the 20-point plateau for the first time when she finished with a career-best 21 points. Since then, she has totaled just 15 combined points in Bona's last four games.
Lovin' New England
With its win over Sacred Heart on Dec. 28, St. Bona has now won six consecutive games in New England, dating back to a 56-48 loss at the hands of Rhode Island on Jan. 19, 2008. Here's a quick glance at the last six trips SBU has made to N.E.:
Jan. 2, 2009 @ Bryant, 67-58
Jan. 4, 2009 @ Yale, 68-35
Dec. 2, 2009 @ Quinnipiac, 77-67
Feb. 2, 2010 @ Massachusetts, 69-54
Feb. 27, 2010 @ Rhode Island, 63-53
Dec. 28, 2010 @ Sacred Heart, 62-54
Big 4 Dominance
With its win over Buffalo on Dec. 10, St. Bonaventure has now swept each of its Big 4 rivals for the third consecutive year, and in the process claimed their 12th straight win over Big 4 schools. In 2007-08, Bonaventure and Buffalo did not meet, but the Bonnies swept both Niagara and Canisius. The last Big 4 school to defeat the Bonnies was Niagara on Nov. 14, 2006, when the Purple Eagles downed the Bonnies in the Gallagher Center, 71-64.
Trying To Reignite
Senior Cara Gustafson got her final campaign in the Brown and White off to a fast start as she scored 11 points in 27 minutes off a career-high-tying three 3-pointers in the season-opening win over Binghamton. However, after taking the final shot of regulation she landed awkwardly and missed the team's next game at Indiana with a right ankle sprain. In the six games after, she played just 103 minutes and scored just seven points, going a combined 2-for-12 from the field in those contests. However, against Canisius on Dec. 7, the Nebraska native reignited and scored all 11 of her points in the first half as she logged 26 minutes of action.
Zahn All Nylon
After missing the first eight games of the year – and not even dressing for the first six – with a shoulder injury, freshman Ashley Zahn made her first appearance in the Brown and White late in the Bonnies' win over Canisius on Dec. 7. The Canandaigua, N.Y. product played five minutes and finished with eight points. With just three seconds remaining on the shot clock, Zahn hit nothing but net from the right wing for 3 in her first career field goal attempt. She then hit nothing but net on her subsequent 3-point attempt from the baseline, and nothing but net on two free throw attempts.
The Great Escapes
The Bonnies committed 16 turnovers on Dec. 4 against Marist, while the Red Foxes had just 12 giveaways. That marked the first time this year St. Bonaventure committed more turnovers than its opponent and won the game. The Bonnies then duplicated that feat against Canisius in their next outing when they finished with nine turnovers to the Griffs' eight, but still won the game handily. And then, for the third time this year, the club committed more turnovers than its opponent and won when it had 15 to Sacred Heart's 10 in a 62-54 win on Dec. 28.
Using Her 'Arm's
Redshirt junior Armelia Horton has broken career highs for assists twice this year already. The Harlem, N.Y. native came into this year with a high water mark of three assists in a game. She broke that mark with a five-assist effort in the Bonnies' win over Niagara on Nov. 24, and then exactly one week later broke that career high with a seven-dish performance in a win over Lafayette on Dec. 1.
Frosh Friends Making New Friends
Freshmen Doris Ortega and CeCe Dixon came to Bonaventure as a package deal from the same high school in Manhattan, and they're starting to let their presence be known on the court. In the Bonnies game against St. John's, Ortega played a career-high 27 minutes off the bench, while Dixon also came off the bench to log 28 minutes. The 55 minutes is the most combined game action the two have seen yet this year, breaking previous highs of 46 in the season opener against Binghamton and 52 at Morgan State. Dixon is doing her best to make friends of her new teammates as well, as the 5-foot-3 guard currently is third on the team in distributing the basketball, issuing 1.4 assists per game.
Don't Wanna Remember November
For the first time in four years, the Bonnies finished the month of November without a winning record. The last time Bonaventure failed to achieve that was during the 2006-07 season when it went 3-4 in November.
No Longer Treading Water
With the win over Sacred Heart on Dec. 28, St. Bonaventure's record was five games over .500 for the first time this year. The Bonnies have won now won eight of 11 to get away from a previously unheard of .500 record. When Bona was at, and below, .500 earlier this year, it was the first time that anyone on the roster had ever been at, or below, .500. Prior to this year, the last time St. Bonaventure was at .500 was during the 2006-07 season when on Feb. 15, 2007 it left Saint Joseph's with a loss and had its record level at 13-13.
St. Bonaventure will have nearly a week off after playing three games in six days as it heads to Pittsburgh to open up A-10 play against the Dukes of Duquesne on Jan. 8.
Women's Basketball Wraps Up Non-Conference Slate Sunday
Game Notes: St. Bona | Kent State | A-10