ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The women's basketball team (11-6, 1-1 Atlantic 10) used a 20-0 run bridging the first and second halves to turn to three-point halftime lead into a 20-point victory over visiting La Salle (4-12, 0-2 A-10) Wednesday night at the Reilly Center, 74-54.
With the Bonnies down 35-33 late in the first half, junior Megan Van Tatenhove converted two of her game-high 22 points from the free throw line to start the Bonaventure run. The Bonnies were able to take a 38-35 lead to the locker room thanks to junior Jessica Jenkins, who, coming off an 0-8 performance from the 3-point line last game, hit nothing but nylon from NBA range to beat the buzzer.
The second half started just as the first ended for the Bonnies as Van Tatenhove netted the first four points to spearhead a 15-0 run out of the halftime break. Jenkins sandwiched a 3-pointer in-between two 3's from sophomore Chelsea Bowker to cap the Bona run, and as soon as Bowker's second 3 went through the net the Bonnies had placed four scorers into double figures.
Head coach Jim Crowley needed to rely on his bench in the first half, as starter Alaina Walker picked up two fouls in the first 4:16 of the game, and first reserve CeCe Dixon picked up her second foul with 12:24 remaining. The foul troubles continued as starter Armelia Horton was called for her second foul with 11:21 left, and all three of the Bonnies' primary ball handlers were on the bench. Bowker was then whistled for her second foul with 3:27 left in the half.
The help off the bench came primarily from senior Cara Gustafson and freshman Doris Ortega. Gustafson scored all seven of her points in the first half, the same 20 minute-frame where Ortega netted eight of her season- and career-high 12 points. Help also came off the bench for Crowley in the form of defense, as junior Jennie Ashton grabbed a career-high seven rebounds to help aid the 39-28 St. Bonaventure rebounding margin.
Another key cog in that decisive rebounding total was Bowker, who corralled 10 to tie her career high. Those 10 boards, coupled with her 11 points, gave the Salem, Ohio, native – who has now scored in double figures in three straight games for the first time in her career – her first career double-double.
After allowing the Explorers to score 35 points in the first half, the most points surrendered in the opening 20 minutes by the Bonnies all year, the Bonaventure defense settled in and allowed just 19 second-half points, the second fewest it has given up in the second frame this year.
La Salle put three scorers in double figures, led by senior Ashley Gale's 16. She was joined by redshirt sophomore Alexis Scott with 15, and freshman Jess Koci with 13.
St. Bonaventure will continue A-10 play when it heads to the nation's capital on Saturday for a meeting with the George Washington Colonials. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m., and the Bonnies will be looking for their first-ever win at the Smith Center (0-16).
Game Notes: After shooting 42.3 percent from the floor in the first half, the Bonnies held La Salle to just 28.6 percent in the second half … rounding out the Bonaventure scoring was Walker (two), Horton (four) and Dixon (three) … freshmen Ashley Zahn and Ashley Capotosto and senior Amanda Johnson played, marking the second time this year all 12 Bona players saw game action (Canisius) … Capotosto tied her season- and career-high rebounding total by grabbing two … La Salle's Scott came off the bench to play 29 minutes after missing the last 10 games with an injury … this is the third time this year St. Bonaventure has put four scorers in double figures (Canisius, Kent State) … Horton did not start the second half for the first time this year.