The St. Bonaventure University women's basketball continues its season-opening homestand to begin the season as the Bonnies host Little Three rival Niagara at the Reilly Center Thursday night. Tip is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT
The Bonnies opened the 2019-20 season Tuesday night against St. John's, falling 68-56. The Red Storm were picked to finish second in the Big East this season. Asianae Johnson led all scorers with 18 points and Emily Calabrese hauled in a team high seven rebounds.
Head coach Jada Pierce enters her fifth season at the helm of the Purple Eagles. She led Niagara to a 12-19 overall record and an 8-10 record in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play last year. Niagara was tabbed to finish seventh in this year's Preseason MAAC poll. It is the highest Niagara was picked since the 2014-15 season when they were selected to finish fifth. Senior guard Jai Moore was selected to the Preseason All-MAAC First Team as well as the Preseason All-Big 4 First Team. She started in all 31 games last season and led the team in scoring with 17.5 point per game. Maggie McIntyre was selected the Preseason All-Big 4 Second Team after averaging 10.4 ppg last season. In the paint, Emerald Ekipiteta led the Purple Eagles on the boards last season, hauling in 7.1 per game and pulled in 220 total rebounds last season.
Thursday marks the 63rd meeting all-time between the Bonnies and the Purple Eagles. The Bonnies lead the all-time series 38-24. The Bonnies have won 11 out of the last 12 meetings between the two teams and has not dropped a home matchup to the Purple Eagles since the 1980-81 season.
Bonnies head coach Jesse Fleming is 2-1 overall against Niagara as a head coach. The Bonnies visited the Purple Eagles last season with the Bonnies coming out on top 76-48. Four Bonnies scored in double figures, including Amanda Oliver who was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor.
Head coach Jesse Fleming welcomes seven newcomers to this year's team. Olivia Tucker, Kaitlyn Parker, Olivia Brown and Claire Cody all join the Bonnies as freshmen. The Bonnies also add Kayla Wilson and Jurnee President who both are junior college transfers and will each have two seasons of eligibility remaining. The final newcomer to the program is transfer guard Tori Harris, who joins the team from James Madison. Harris will sit out the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer rules and have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning next year.
BIG 4 HONORS
St. Bonaventure sophomores Asianae Johnson and Deja Francis have earned selection to the Preseason All-Big 4 Second Team, officials announced Monday. Voting took place among media and athletics communication staffs that cover St. Bonaventure, Canisius, Niagara and Buffalo. The electric guard combo returns for year two with the Bonnies. Both Johnson and Francis are coming off impressive first seasons where they ranked second and third respectively on the team in scoring. Francis tallied 104 assists last season, the most by any Bonnies freshman in over 20 years, and led all conference freshmen in assists per game (4.4) during Atlantic 10 play to earn a spot on the A-10 All-Rookie Team.
The Atlantic 10's agreement with ESPN+ to be the official video streaming partner of the conference means all St. Bonaventure games that are not shown on a national or regional TV network will be shown on ESPN+. The broadcasts will be produced in-house under the direction of Rick Karnath, an adjunct professor in the Jandoli School of Communication. Karnath will lead a group of students who will work alongside Athletics Department staff to air both men's and women's games. ESPN+ can be accessed in the Watch tab of the latest version of the ESPN App, available on the web, iPhone, iPad, tvOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast and FireTV for a subscription of $4.99 per month.
Season tickets for the 2019-20 St. Bonaventure women's basketball season are on sale now for just $50. To order, call the SBU Ticket Office at (716) 375-2500 or visit GoBonnies.com/Tickets.
The Bonnies close out their homestand when Akron comes to town Sunday, Nov. 10. Tip is slated for 1:00 p.m.
For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @GoBonnies and get women's basketball updates @BonniesWBB. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.