@BonniesWBB Opens New Era Friday at Rival Niagara

@BonniesWBB Opens New Era Friday at Rival Niagara

ST. BONAVENTURE (0-0) at NIAGARA (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 11 - 5:00 p.m.
Lewiston, N.Y. (Gallagher Center)
Online Coverage - Live Stats | Live Video ($$) | Game Notes

OPENING TIP OVERVIEW
The St. Bonaventure University women's basketball team opens the 2016-17 season Friday evening at Little Three rival Niagara. 

BONNIES TO ADD TO THE BANNER COLLECTION SUNDAY
Sunday's home opener will be a special day in Bonnies women's basketball history as the program will unveil the 2016 NCAA Tournament banner. The banner will be dropped from the Reilly Center rafters prior to the home opener vs. Colgate at 1 p.m. 

For tickets to Sunday's game, please CLICK HERE

BONA VS. NIAGARA - SERIES HISTORY

  • St. Bonaventure leads the all-time series, 36-23.
  • The Bonnies have won the nine straight meetings between the Little Three rivals.- Niagara's last victory in the series came at home on Nov. 14, 2006, 71-64.
  • 18 of Niagara's 23 victories in the series have come on its home court.
  • Bona has opened the season vs. Niagara four times, going 2-2. SBU has won the last two of those games - 1990 at home (100-83) and 1998 on the road (87-75).

LAST MEETING

  • Bona held off a game Niagara squad, 67-55, on Dec. 23, 2015 at the Reilly Center. Though the Bonnies were in the midst of a 16-game winning streak at the time, Niagara led for nearly 18 minutes of game time before SBU pulled away.
  • Mariah Ruff had nine points and matched a career high of three blocks.
  • Gabby Richmond finished with six points and rebounds.
  • Sam Lapszynski totaled a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds while Kaylee Stroemple had 10 rebounds for the Purple Eagles.

LOCAL DOMINANCE 

  • The Bonnies have won 26 of the last 27 games against Big 4 rivals Buffalo, Canisius and Niagara.
  • Among Little Three rivalry games vs. Canisius and Niagara, Bona has won 19 consecutive games dating to Nov. 14, 2006.
  • Stretching further, Bona is 63-12 against New York State opponents since the 2006-07 season.

ABOUT NIAGARA

  • Niagara was picked ninth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Association (MAAC) preseason poll
  • Forwards Victoria Rampado and Kaylee Stroemple were named to the All-MAAC First and Third Preseason Teams respectively.
  • Rampado, a redshirt junior, was lost for the season after just three games a year ago after scoring 12.6 ppg with 6.1 rebounds per game in 2014-15. Stroemple led the Purple Eagles last year at 12.1 ppg, ranking eighth in the MAAC.
  • Niagara went 8-23 in the first season under head coach Jada Pierce, but won two of its final three games including a first round MAAC Tournament victory over rival Canisius.

ALL BIG 4 SELECTIONS ON HAND
Four players in Friday's game were selected to the Preseason All-Big 4 Team - St. Bonaventure's Mariah Ruff and Niagara's Victoria Rampado were each named to the First Team while Gabby Richmond of Bona and Kaylee Stroemple of Niagara were both picked to the Second Team.

NEW YEAR, NEW FACES

  • Friday's game will be the first official contest for new head coach Jesse Fleming at the helm. No stranger to the program, Fleming was on the staff of former head coach Jim Crowley from 2005-2011 and prior to that was a team manager from 2001-04, graduating in 2005. It will be Fleming's first season with the program since 2011, however, as he spent the 2011-12 season on staff at Stony Brook and 2012-16 with Bowling Green.
  • The game at Niagara will mark the first game that former head coach Jim Crowley has not been associated with the program since the final game of the 1995-96 season - March 1, 1996 vs. Xavier. Crowley became an assistant coach the following season and was named head coach in 2000.
  • Along with Coach Fleming, assistant coaches Jeff Clapacs and Jennifer Pruett as well as director of basketball operations Alysha Giarra all join the Bona staff for the first time, joining the longest tenured member of the staff, Andrea Mulcahy who is in her fifth season on the bench for Bona.
  • Bona also brings in six new players - five freshmen (Danielle Migliore, Jalisha Terry, Rhianna Council, Sarah Hart and Sarah Young) and junior transfer C'quoya Haughton who will sit out this year due to NCAA transfer rules.

RUFF LEADS THE WAY

  • Bona returns one starter from last year's NCAA Tournament team, junior guard Mariah Ruff.
  • Ruff started all 32 games a season ago, averaging 10.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists.
  • She had four or more assists in 22 games a year ago and ranked sixth in the Atlantic 10 in assist-to-turnover ratio.  
  • Ruff earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 All-Preseason Third Team and is also on the Big 4 Preseason First Team.- The 2014 Miss New York Basketball and one of Crowley's most prized recruits during his tenure, Ruff was at her best in A-10 play last year, averaging 11.8 points per game. 

IN THE POLLS
St. Bonaventure was selected to finish 10th in this year's preseason Atlantic 10 Coaches Poll- Bona will look to do what it did last season when it proved the polls wrong: SBU was picked ninth a season ago, but finished fourth with a 12-4 conference record and just a game out of the top spot.

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Bonnies Women's Basketball Season Tickets are available for just $65. For more information, call 716-375-2500 or CLICK HERE.

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.