OPENING TIP OVERVIEW
The St. Bonaventure women's basketball team makes the trip to UMass for another education day special with an 11:00 a.m. tipoff Thursday morning.
GABBY THE GREAT
Graduate forward Gabby Richmond earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 Weekly Honor Roll this week after a pair of impressive games against the top two teams in the conference standings. She averaged 17.0 points and 7.5 rebounds against Saint Louis and Fordham last week, continuing a roll of strong play vs. A-10 competition – she's averaging 15.7 points and 8.2 rebounds in six conference games this season.
Freshman Jalisha Terry has scored in double figures in each of the past two games against the top two teams in the Atlantic 10, notching 13 points last Wednesday at Saint Louis and 10 points Sunday vs. Fordham. If she follows her trend this year she could score in double figures again Thursday – she has scored in double figures eight times in her debut season and prior to this week, her previous six such games came in a pair of three-game stretches (Nov. 26 – 30 and Dec. 9 – 18).
Three Bonnies are averaging 32 minutes or more per game during conference play – Gabby Richmond (33), Jalisha Terry (33) and Mariah Ruff (32). A fourth, Matea Britvar, is at 29 minutes per game and would also be averaging over 30 minutes per contest if not for fouling out in 19 minutes vs. Dayton.
TIME FOR A NEW STREAK
Junior Mariah Ruff did not crack into the scoring Sunday vs. Fordham, a tremendous rarity for the Oneonta, N.Y. native. Sunday's game broke a string of 62 consecutive games with points scored for Ruff, who has racked up 765 points for her career entering Thursday.
SERIES HISTORY VS. UMASS
The Bonnies and Minutewomen will meet for the 59th time in series history, with St. Bonaventure facing UMass more times than any other Atlantic 10 rival. UMass has won two out of the last three games in the series, but prior to that it was the Bonnies who had gotten the upper hand in recent years. A UMass win in the first round of the 2015 Atlantic 10 Tournament snapped what was an eight-game Bonnies winning streak dating to 2009. The Minutewomen have won 18 of 27 meetings in the state of Massachusetts, however.
St. Bonaventure and UMass split a home-and-home series last year with both teams protecting home court. Bona won, 66-41, in the RC on Jan. 10, 2016 in a dominating performance, but the tables were turned in what seemed like a crushing loss last February. Squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble, the Bonnies suffered a 69-60 setback at the Mullins Center despite UMass entering the game 0-11 in A-10 play. Bona led, 54-49, with 6:54 to play, but UMass surged in the final minutes behind a game-high 20 points from Cierra Dillard.
The young Minutewomen have played well under first-year head coach Tory Verdi, despite often playing with a short bench. UMass primarily plays just seven players – Hailey Leidel (38.1 min/game), Leah McDerment (37.2 mpg), Maggie Mulligan (36.0 mpg) and Ryan Holder (34.1 mpg) rank first, third, fifth and 10th among all A-10 players in minutes this season. Leidel has been a revelation, though, ranking second in the nation among all freshmen with 56 3-pointers while averaging 17.3 points per game and shooting 41 percent from the floor. Mulligan is second in the A-10 with 11.8 rebounds per game while scoring 14.5 ppg and two other players – Holder and Alyx Stiff – each score over 10 points per game.
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