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Tale Of Two Halves Dooms Bonnies In A-10 Opener

Tale Of Two Halves Dooms Bonnies In A-10 Opener

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – After building a 16-point second-half lead in its Atlantic 10 Conference opener Saturday afternoon at Duquesne (14-2, 1-0), St. Bonaventure (10-6, 0-1) shot just 29.6 percent in the second frame and was unable to hold on for the win, falling at the A.J. Palumbo Center, 60-54.

Sophomore Chelsea Bowker knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing on the first St. Bonaventure possession to spearhead a fast 8-0 start out of the locker room for the visitors. After  a Duquesne lay-up at the 16:39 mark snapped the Bona run, it started another one up right away and before the game was even five minutes old the Brown and White had built a 16-4 lead.

From there, the Dukes settled into 2-2-1 and 1-3-1 half-court zone defenses to disrupt the Bona offensive flow. After holding leads of 15 on multiple occasions in the half, the Bonnies took a 35-24 lead at the break after forcing the Dukes into 18 turnovers in the game's first 20 minutes.

In each of its two losses this year, Duquesne had trailed at the half, and the Bonnies opened the second half looking to make that three. They started on a 5-0 run to build that 16-point lead, 40-24, with 16 minutes left before Duquesne starting making a dent. Back-to-back 3-pointers shaved the lead to 10, and the Dukes were able to whittle it down from there before taking their first lead of the game at 46-45 with 6:30 remaining.

A Bowker lay-in with 5:09 left put the Bonnies back in front at 47-46, but that was the last lead they held as the Dukes closed the game on a 14-3 run for the final margin.

"I was disappointed we weren't able to finish against a high-quality opponent on the road," head coach Jim Crowley said. "We did some things well that gave us a chance to win, but we didn't finish it with rebounding and made shots like they did."

A large chunk of that 29.6 percent second-half shooting by the Bonnies stemmed from an 0-11 performance from the 3-point line in the second frame, and 3-20 (15 percent) overall. Junior Megan Van Tatenhove, coming off a season-low four-point outing in her last game against Kent State, finished with team highs of 19 points, six rebounds and four steals. Bowker was the lone other Bonnie to get into double figures as she finished with 12, 10 of which came in the first half.

Duquesne was paced by a season-high 20 points from junior Vanessa Abel, 14 of which came in the second half. Senior Samantha Pollino also finished in double figures with 13 points, 11 of which came in the second frame.

The Bonnies were out-rebounded by 15, 39-24, marking the largest rebounding deficit they've finished a game with all year. That +15 rebounding margin led to 15 second-chance points by the Dukes, 11 of which came in their second-half scoring outburst.

St. Bonaventure returns home to host its first conference game of the year on Wednesday evening against La Salle. Tip-off is slated for 7 from the Reilly Center.

Game Notes: Freshman Doris Ortega came off the bench to score eight points, one shy of her season high … after causing the Dukes to turn the ball over 18 times in the first half, Duquesne coughed up The Rock just four times in the second half … St. Bonaventure shot 42.3 percent for the game while Duquesne shot 44.2 … Duquesne is now 7-20 all-time in A-10 openers, and four of those seven wins have come over St. Bonaventure.