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Bona Season Ends In Second Round Of WNIT To Syracuse

Bona Season Ends In Second Round Of WNIT To Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Despite 16 points from sophomore Chelsea Bowker, the women's basketball team (21-12) fell to Syracuse (24-9) in the Second Round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament Monday evening at the Carrier Dome, 63-50.

The loss closes St. Bonaventure's third-most successful season in program history, bested only by the previous two 23-win campaigns. It also concludes the third straight postseason appearance, as in each of the previous two seasons the Bonnies advanced to at least the Second Round of the WNIT.

Down by as much as 17, 37-20, early in the second half, the Bonnies showed their resiliency by trimming the deficit to just seven, 46-39, with 10:16 remaining following a Bowker elbow jumper. Still down just seven at 48-41, junior Megan Van Tatenhove called for time after being trapped in the corner with five seconds left on the shot clock.

However, on the ensuing out-of-bounds play, the Bonnies turned the ball over, resulting in a Syracuse fast-break lay-up and spearheading a 13-0 Orange run over the next four minutes.

The 61-41 cushion was more than enough for the Orange to hang on to, as they advanced to host the winner of Eastern Michigan and UNC Wilmington in the Third Round on Thursday night.

After jumping out to an 11-6 lead – their largest of the game – at the 14:56 mark, the Bona offense went cold. While still clinging to a 14-12 lead following a Jessica Jenkins jumper, Syracuse used a game-altering 12-0 run to take a 24-14 lead.

Trying to stop the Orange run, head coach Jim Crowley subbed four of the five players on the floor, and the Bonnies responded with a 4-0 spurt from Bowker to cut their deficit six at 24-18. Unfortunately for the Bona's, that's as close as it would get the rest of the night.

The night was not without history; however, as with 29 seconds remaining in the contest Jenkins hit her second 3-pointer of the night from the top of the arc. The 3 was the 100th of her season, breaking Suzie Dailer's 18-year-old record of 99.

The Bonnies will also finish with the third-highest winning percentage in school history at .636, once again only bettered by the previous two years. St. Bonaventure knocked down seven more 3's against Syracuse, extending its team single-season record for 3-pointers made to 224 – 32 more than the second-best year in 2008-09.

Bowker led a trio of double-figure Bonaventure scorers, as Van Tatenhove tallied 12 and Jenkins finished with 10. The double-digit effort by Van Tatenhove was the 54th of her career, moving her into a tie for 11th in that category in school history.

For Syracuse, Iasia Hemingway paced the offense with 14, while sophomore Kayla Alexander added 12 and Elashier Hall contributed 10. The 5-11 Hemingway also pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds as part of Syracuse's 43-29 rebounding advantage. The 17 caroms are the most by a player against the Bonnies all year.

The loss brings to a conclusion the careers of seniors Cara Gustafson and Amanda Johnson. The two have been an integral part in St. Bonaventure's best four seasons in school history, as over the past quartet of campaigns they have won 85 games and been key cogs in the only three postseason trips in school history. Those 85 victories represent 26.3 percent of St. Bonaventure's all-time wins (320) since joining the Division I ranks in 1986-87.

Game Notes: St. Bonaventure committed fewer turnovers than Syracuse, 15-14, marking just the fourth occasion this year they have lost a game when it gives the ball away fewer times than its opponent (17-4) … the Bonnies shot a season-low four free throws … the Bona bench out-scored Syracuse's, 19-10 … 14 Orange offensive rebounds translated into 14 second-chance points.