Box Score (PDF)
LEWISTON, N.Y. – Niagara started strong, withstood multiple runs and never let go of control in Friday's women's basketball season-opener, defeating St. Bonaventure, 65-43, at the Gallagher Center.
Niagara came out of the gates hot, running out to an 11-2 lead in the first four minutes after hitting four of its first six attempts from the floor including a pair of treys.
Bona answered, however, with some strength from a pair of its newcomers as Sarah Hart delivered two quick baskets and Danielle Migliore registered her first career points with a three to cut within 13-8.
The Purple Eagles led, 22-17, after a quarter, but Mckenna Maycock drove the lane twice for a pair of lay-ins and, after each team connected from long range, Mariah Ruff's triple brought the Bonnies within 25-22 with 6:30 to go in the half.
St. Bonaventure could get no closer during the opening 20 minutes, however, heading to intermission down, 30-24, despite shooting 50 percent (11-for-22) from the floor.
A 19-8 break from the Purple Eagles during the duration of the third quarter gave the hosts an advantage they wouldn't relinquish.
Niagara again started off strong to begin the second half, pushing its lead to double digits for the first time at 34-24 just over 90 seconds into the third, but Maycock brought the Bonnies back. The sophomore guard drove the baseline for a layup, then delivered a corner three to bring the visitors within five.
An 8-0 run by the Purple Eagles, however, extended their lead back to 42-29 before a Ruff layup ended the Bona drought at the 3:37 mark of the third. The Bonnies would not be able to cut the deficit to single digits again, though.
Victoria Rampado led all scorers with 17 points for Niagara with Tiffany Corselli adding 11.
"This is a process with so many new faces in new roles and we just have to keep getting better," St. Bonaventure head coach Jesse Fleming said. "We have to work our way into getting better and I know that we will."
St. Bonaventure now has a quick turnaround, hosting Colgate Sunday afternoon at the Reilly Center. The game is set for a 1 p.m. tip off with a special ceremony scheduled for pregame, honoring last year's NCAA Tournament team with the unveiling of the NCAA Round of 32 banner from The RC rafters.
GAME NOTES: The Bonnies started their five returning active players off last year's roster: Ruff, Maycock, Richmond, Outlaw and Britvar. For Ruff, it was her 53rd consecutive start and Richmond's 52nd career start. Maycock, Imani Outlaw and Matea Britvar all made their first career starts … Richmond's four blocks are a new career high … Maycock's previous career high in scoring was seven points tallied at Colgate last year … Outlaw handed out a team-high four assists ... Bona owned a 36-35 edge in rebounding ... all five freshmen saw their first action with Hart (four points, six rebounds) showing the way. Migliore finished with three points and Council had two points with one rebound.
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