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Bonnies Hold Off Penn State, 70-60, For Seventh Straight Win

Box Score (PDF)

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – Entering the season, many followers of the St. Bonaventure women's basketball team circled a daunting schedule of four home games in the span of a week against a pair of power conference teams, a perennial national power and a Big 4 rival.

Following another impressive St. Bonaventure victory Saturday over Big Ten foe Penn State, 70-60, the Bonnies finished that marathon stretch perfect on the way to pushing their overall winning streak to seven straight games.

The Bonnies (8-2) led for over 38 minutes of game time, taking a 19-point lead late in the third quarter before overcoming a ferocious fourth period rally from the Lady Lions (4-6).

Sophomore Miranda Drummond was again terrific, powering the Bonnies with 21 points and six rebounds while senior Katie Healy made her return to the starting lineup and posted 19 points, five rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in an all-around performance.

"We had to play very well to win and when we needed to make plays defensively we did," Bonnies head coach Jim Crowley said. "It wasn't our best defensive effort, but when we needed to make the plays we did."

St. Bonaventure pushed its cushion to 54-35 with just 49 seconds remaining in the third quarter following a shot from long range by Kelcie Rombach.

From there, however, the Lady Lions embarked on a 19-4 run and quickly erased their deficit. Penn State closed to within 56-54 following a layup and-one from Kaliyah Mitchell with still 6:20 to play.

After two free throws from Drummond gave St. Bonaventure a bit of breathing room, Penn State again sliced to within a bucket following two at the line from Brianna Banks who nearly single-handedly kept the Lady Lions in the game with her game-high 26 points.

That would be as close as Penn State would get, however.

Gabby Richmond gave the Bonnies a needed jolt of energy by fighting inside for a bucket and a 60-56 edge. Then, following a defensive stop and Richmond rebound, Drummond found space behind the arc, draining a three-pointer off an assist from Healy for a 63-56 score with 2:32 showing on the clock.

The Bonaventure defense then forced a shot clock violation and Penn State turnover. On the next possession, Healy worked a spin move underneath for the bucket and a 65-56 advantage, bringing the Reilly Center crowd of 884 to a roar.

"It was a great atmosphere. We are really thankful for the support of the students and all the fans. They helped," Crowley said. "We were on the ropes in the fourth quarter and I thought the energy of the crowd really pushed us forward."

Another defensive stand after a Penn State timeout would lead to a Lady Lions foul, sending Emily Michael to the line for two free throws as the Bonnies lead grew to 67-56 and just 1:40 to play.

The Bonnies entered the day leading the Atlantic 10 in both field goal shooting and field goal percentage defense and held true to those statistics by shooting 43.1 percent from the floor (25-for-58) while holding Penn State to 33.3 percent (20-for-60) and just 4-of-14 shooting from long range.

Banks went 10-of-17 on shot attempts for Penn State. Lindsey Spann also registered 17 for the Lady Lions.

For St. Bonaventure, Nyla Rueter posted 10 points while Richmond delivered six points and team-high seven rebounds off the bench. The Bonnies held a 41-36 advantage on the boards for the afternoon.

The Bonnies will now break for final exams, next playing a week from Saturday on Dec. 19 at Colgate.

GAME NOTES: Saturday marked just the 15th win for a current Atlantic 10 team over Penn State, which spent eight years in the A-10. Current Atlantic 10 teams are now 15-116 all-time against Penn State, with St. Bonaventure owning wins in back-to-back seasons over the Lady Lions including a 56-54 win at PSU last season … Healy's seven assists tied a career high while her three blocks give her 122 for her career, just one off the school record of 123 held since 1992 by Vachelle Manly … Healy also had her 71st career double-figure scoring effort, tying current assistant coach Jessica Jenkins for eighth all-time in school history ... the Bonnies entered Saturday's play ranking 31st in the national RPI, the highest of any Atlantic 10 team … SBU has its first seven-game winning streak since Jan. 15 – Feb. 8, 2014 … the Bonnies now own seven victories over power five conference teams plus the Big East and American since 2011-12 including two this week – SBU also knocked off Big East foe Georgetown last Saturday … St. Bonaventure improved to 57-15 during the month of December since the 2006-07 season ... Saturday gave the Bonnies their 10th win all-time against current members of the Big Ten.

For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @Go_Bonnies and get women's basketball updates @BonniesWBB. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.