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Fourth Quarter Rally Pushes VCU Past Bonnies, 59-50

Asianae Johnson led the Bonnies with 15 points Wednesday. (Photo by Vic Ozogar)
Asianae Johnson led the Bonnies with 15 points Wednesday. (Photo by Vic Ozogar)
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ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – For 30 minutes Wednesday night, the St. Bonaventure women's basketball team looked to be in prime position to pull an upset over the top-ranked team in the Atlantic 10 standings.

A stifling fourth quarter performance changed things, however, allowing visiting VCU (17-6, 9-1 A-10) to take a 59-50 win at the Reilly Center.

Freshman Asianae Johnson finished with 15 points to lead all scorers while Emily Calabrese chipped in with 10 points.

"The message in the locker room wasn't a negative thing, but I was incredibly disappointed because I think we're good enough to win this game," St. Bonaventure head coach Jesse Fleming said. "The way we've played for two weeks now and the way we've shared the ball; we've got athleticism and a good rotation. We were so locked in to start the game that I thought we were going to be able to finish."

Wednesday's result snapped a three-game winning streak for the Bonnies (7-15, 4-5).

The Bonnies led, 44-39, after three quarters of play before VCU scored the first 15 points of the fourth to seize control. 

In the early going, St. Bonaventure could not have asked for a better start.

The Bonnies took the fight to VCU's vaunted defense, which ranked second in the nation in points allowed, field goal percentage defense and three-point percentage defense entering the night. Despite VCU's lofty reputation, Bona went 7-for-13 in field goal attempts during the first quarter.

Early on, it was Bonaventure's defense turning heads. VCU was held to 3-of-16 from the floor during the opening 10 minutes as the Bonnies opened up an 18-6 advantage.

The tables were turned in the second quarter.

VCU flipped the script by unleashing a 21-6 sprint, pushing ahead 27-24 with 1:33 left before the half, though a free throw and a Deja Francis drive to the basket before the buzzer sent the teams to the break all tied.

St. Bonaventure outplayed the Rams again during the third quarter, pushing ahead on back-to-back buckets from Calabrese. A put-back followed by another bucket just before the horn gave the hosts a five-point lead heading for the final 10 minutes.

Unfortunately for the Bonnies, though, the momentum would completely change during the fourth.

VCU embarked on a 15-0 run as its press continually caused the Bonnies issues. The stifling defense allowed Bona to only attempt two field goals during the first six minutes as the visitors pulled away.

The Bonnies were able to shoot nearly 49 percent from the floor for the night (21-for-43), almost 17 percent higher than VCU allows opponents on average for the year. A total of 21 turnovers, nine in the fourth quarter, were the difference, though, as the Rams turned those miscues into 23 points on the other end.

Francis finished with seven points and four assists.

For VCU, Taya Robinson finished with 13 points and Danielle Hammond scored 12.

The Bonnies are next in action with another tough test Saturday at Davidson, which stands 7-2 in conference play.

GAME NOTES:

  • Bona's defense held the Rams to 37 percent from the floor (21-57) and 21 percent from distance (3-14).
  • St. Bonaventure held the Rams to six points in the first quarter, the ninth time this year the Bonnies have held an opponent to single digits and second-lowest all season.
  • VCU won the battle of the boards, 36-28, and scooped up 16 offensive rebounds. 
  • Calabrese posted her third double figure scoring effort of the season.
  • Amanda Oliver's six rebounds led the Bonnies while Johnson drew a team-high six foul calls on VCU. 

- By Scott Eddy, Director of Athletics Communications

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