Box Score (PDF)
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – A trio of Bonnies – Matea Britvar, Gabby Richmond and Mariah Ruff – all established new career highs as the St. Bonaventure women's basketball team opened Atlantic 10 play with an entertaining 78-69 victory over Rhode Island Wednesday afternoon at the Reilly Center.
Britvar logged 24 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs, on eight of nine shooting from the floor while Richmond added a personal best 22 points along with seven rebounds. Ruff also filled the stat sheet, pouring in 19 points and handing out a career high 10 assists as well as six rebounds.
It was enough for the Bonnies (6-7, 1-0 Atlantic 10) to overcome an onslaught from Rhode Island (4-9, 0-1) junior guard Charise Wilson who nearly single-handedly kept the Rams in the game with her 34 points on 12-of-24 shooting.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Bonnies took a 23-21 edge to halftime. Following intermission, Ruff and Wilson had their own one-on-one battle for a stretch as both players scored 12 points apiece with the Bonnies junior guard connecting on four of her five three-pointers on the day.
"(Ruff) stepped up in the third quarter and really got us going," said Bonnies head coach Jesse Fleming, who was victorious in his Atlantic 10 head coaching debut. "Wilson came right at us and she and Mar went shot-for-shot for a bit, but we really started to finally move the ball in the second half and found our energy."
Though the teams started slow offensively after each having more than a week layoff for Christmas, things quickly changed in the second half.
The Bonnies led by eight with 1:11 left in the third quarter, but the Rams pounced for six quick points before the buzzer to pull within 46-44 heading for the final 10 minutes.
Bona stretched the margin to nine midway through the period, but Wilson brought the Rams back within 64-61 at the 4:47 mark following one of her seven treys.
An 8-0 run from the Bonnies, however, gave control firmly back to the Brown and White as the Rams could get no closer than seven the rest of the way.
"Our veteran leadership pulled us through," Fleming said. "They understand what it takes to win games in the Atlantic 10. I hope they can get everybody else along with them and we can continue to have success in the A-10."
Britvar tallied her second career double-double, scoring 16 points after halftime.
"Mariah had some great assists and we did a great job of moving the ball around to get me open," Britvar said.
In all, the Bonnies had 22 assists on 26 made baskets, shooting over 46 percent from the floor.
"We did a good job with finishing at the end of the press," Fleming assessed. "We went to the boards and got a bunch of and-ones in the second half."
Amari Johnson also registered a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Rams, who shot 38 percent from the floor (25-66).
St. Bonaventure next travels to George Mason with a New Year's Eve afternoon tip off of 2 p.m. slated.
GAME NOTES: Britvar's previous double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds came in a win Nov. 13 vs. Colgate. Her 24 points are also the most by any Bonnies player since Nyla Rueter finished with 25 points last January at Rhode Island … Richmond bested her previous high of 21 points which came Nov. 17, 2013 vs. Fairfield … Ruff's 10 assists were the most by any Bonnies player since Priscilla Edwards had 10 assists on Feb. 24, 2006 … freshman Jalisha Terry also had a career-best six assists ... no opponent had scored 30 or more points against the Bonnies since Kara Murphy did so for Akron with 32 on Nov. 22, 2008 … the Bonnies' 32 points in the fourth quarter were their most since the game went to quarters for the 2015-16 season ... Bona's 55 second half points are its most in a half since scoring 52 points during the first half vs. Detroit on Nov. 24, 2015 … SBU handed out its most assists since recording 23 at UMass on Feb. 8, 2014 … the Bonnies went a season-best 21 of 25 at the foul line.