ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – For the second time this season, the women's basketball team (10-5) put four scorers into double figures as it wrapped up its fifth straight year of double-digit non-conference wins with a 67-52 victory Sunday afternoon over Kent State (9-3) in the Reilly Center.
With the game knotted at 5-5 at the 14:22 mark, the Bonnies went on an extended 23-7 run over the next 11 minutes to take a commanding 28-12 lead with 2:47 remaining. The Golden Flashes then used a quick 7-0 run to close to within nine at 28-19 before the Bonnies rebutted with their own 7-0 spurt to give them a 16-point lead at the half, 35-19.
The 16-point differential was the largest Kent State has faced all year, and also represented the biggest lead Bonaventure has had after 20 minutes this season.
However, the Golden Flashes came in averaging 72.3 points per game and leading the Mid-American Conference in field goal percentage, and looked every bit the part of it to start the second half. They trimmed the deficit in half not even four minutes into the second frame, and had it cut to five at 40-35 with 13:19 remaining.
The teams then traded buckets, but with the Bonnies up 46-41 at the 9:29 mark, junior Jessica Jenkins spearheaded a 12-2 Bona run with back-to-back 3-pointers to put the hosts up 15. Those were two of her game-high five 3's and team-leading 15 points.
After scoring 12 points in her last three games combined, senior Cara Gustafson came off the bench to score a season-high 12 and corral a season-high-tying six boards. Both totals are one shy of career highs, with her 13-point performance coming in her freshman year ironically enough in a win over Kent State.
"The first half there was a chance of the game getting away, and Cara just did a phenomenal job," head coach Jim Crowley said. "She raised the level of everyone and just showed terrific leadership and everyone else was able to jump onboard."
Sophomore Alaina Walker also finished with a season-high point total, as she netted 11, an effort equaled by classmate Chelsea Bowker. The lone other game this year that the Bonnies have placed four scorers in double figures was in a 74-41 win against Canisius.
Sixty-five percent of Kent State's offense came from seniors Taisja Jones and Ellie Shields, as Jones finished with a game-high 18 and Shields with 16. After shooting just 25 percent (6-24) in the first half, the Golden Flashes shot 44 percent in the second frame, but still finished well below their season average at 34.7 percent.
As usual, the Bona defense was vital in the game's outcome as it held Kent State's offense, which has gone over 75 points five times this year, to a season-low point total on a season-low 3-point percentage (8.3).
The win concludes St. Bonaventure's non-conference slate, as it has now won 10 or more non-conference games in five consecutive years, continuing the longest streak in program history. Only one other year has St. Bonaventure eclipsed the 10-win non-conference plateau, when in 1992-93 it won 11.
After playing three games in the last six days, the Bonnies will have nearly a week off as they prepare for their Atlantic 10 opener at Duquesne on Saturday. Tip-off from Pittsburgh is slated for 2 p.m.
Game Notes: Kent State's second-leading scorer and rebounder, senior Jamilah Humes, did not start, marking the first time all year that has happened … Kent State started four seniors, with its usual starting five being all seniors … St. Bonaventure junior Megan Van Tatenhove, the team's leading scorer, was held to a season-low four points coming off a six-point performance in her last game … that marks the first time this year she has been held to single digits in back-to-back games.