Box Score (PDF)
DENVER, Co. – A strong finish and two players with 20-point efforts led Denver to a 76-62 victory over the St. Bonaventure women's basketball team in the finale of the Denver Thanksgiving Classic Saturday afternoon at Hamilton Gymnasium.
Denver improved to 5-1 on the season, sweeping its games over the weekend after a double overtime win vs. Lamar on Friday. Lauren Loven led all scorers with 23 points while Madison Nelson racked up 20 points and 17 rebounds for the Pioneers.
"There were some good things, we had some people giving a lot of fight until the final buzzer," St. Bonaventure head coach Jesse Fleming said. "Danielle is getting great experience playing the lead guard spot in our offense and she came out ready to shoot today."
The first quarter was a back-and-forth battle with each side owning the lead before Denver took an 18-17 advantage after a bucket on its final possession.
St. Bonaventure had a slow start to the second, however, going over three minutes without a point as Denver pulled ahead by five with just over three minutes left before the half.
A pair of free throws from Migliore broke the ice, cutting the Denver lead to just three, but the Pioneers would take a six-point lead to intermission.
In the third, the Bonnies narrowed their deficit to 33-32 one minute into the half following a drive from Johnson. Denver would score on its next two possessions, but soon the Pioneers edge was down to 37-36 after a layup from Amanda Oliver.
The margin stayed within five points until the 4:12 mark of the third as the hosts went on a 9-4 break to take their largest lead of the day, 53-43, into the fourth quarter.
St. Bonaventure got within single digits again at 62-54 with 3:30 remaining in the game, though, after a feed from Logan found Oliver on the wing.
Work in the lane from Loven pushed the lead back to 10, but Deja Francis got to the line and connected on both free throws for a 64-56 score and 2:56 to play.
A three on the wing from Loven on the other end gave Denver a double-digit lead it would not relinquish as the Pioneers finished the game on a 12-6 run to make the final score more lopsided than the contest was for 37 minutes.
The Bonnies shot 33 percent from the floor (21-for-64) and Denver finished at 39 percent (27-69). Denver held a 43-41 edge in rebounding, but the difference came from beyond the arc – the hosts hit 12 shots from long range while the Bonnies connected on three.
"We have some things we need to clean up in order to improve and we will keep getting better," Fleming said.
Next up for the Bonnies is a return to the Reilly Center where they will host Bucknell Thursday night. Tip off is slated for 7 p.m.
- Johnson earned a spot on the Denver Classic All-Tournament Team after her efforts in both games during the weekend.
- Amanda Oliver made her first start in a Bonnies uniform. Claudia Del Moral started at point guard for the second consecutive day, giving the Bonnies a starting five of Del Moral, Oliver, Asianae Johnson, Danielle Migliore and Bree Paulson.
- Eight of nine Bonnies active on Saturday registered points.
- St. Bonaventure received 28 points off the bench, led by Logan. Emily Calabrese pitched in with nine points and seven rebounds as well.
- Bree Paulson, playing within 30 minutes of her hometown of Broomfield, Co., finished with six rebounds and two blocks.
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