Bonnies Championship Primer (Women’s Coverage)
By: Jon May
St. Bonaventure Women’s Basketball In Position to Capture First Ever A-10 Crown
Opponent: Winner of game between #5 VCU and winner of #13 Richmond/#12 Davidson
Date and Time: Friday, March 4th @ 2 p.m.
Where: Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, VA
Watch: ASN/ A10 App
Primer: The St. Bonaventure Bonnies Women’s Basketball team is heading to Richmond, Virginia for the 2016 Atlantic Ten Tournament March 2nd-6th, in pretty good shape. Having already locked up the 4 seed in the tournament, the Bonnies are coming off a home win against then conference leading Duquesne. The 4 seed is valuable in avoiding an early round knockout and gives the Bonnies a few days off until they play Friday, March 4th. The Bonnies are looking to make the NCAA tournament for the second time in 5 years and despite winning 16 straight games in the middle of this season and finishing 23-6, the Bonnies will most likely need to win three games in a row to punch their ticket.
As the basketball world starts to turn its attention toward March, The Bona Blog wanted to give a quick primer of the team and also to inform readers that the blog will be covering the games live in Richmond as the Bonnies look to earn their first ever Atlantic Ten Championship.
Head Coach Jim Crowley is in his 16th season at the helm of the Bonnies and has enjoyed the high’s (NCAA Birth in 2012) and has endured the low’s (4 straight season of single digit wins from 2002-06). Crowley has racked up 256 wins as the Bonnies head coach since 2000. His path to 256 though has not been easy, as the Men’s and Women’s programs struggled through the early 2000’s, both programs have climbed back up to prominence and one reason why is the patience that was shown with Crowley to turn the program around. Coaches are not usually granted extensions for winning only 9 games in a season multiple times in a row, yet the administration saw how Crowley is a true teacher of the game and how he shows an interest in developing student athletes and let the leash out just enough.
Also, let’s not forget, Crowley was the head coach of a program that shares facilities with a men’s team that was all but left for dead by the NCAA in the wake of an academic scandal. Those headlines, even though not the same sport, tend to overshadow the entire university and recruiting during those times must have been uphill battles at every turn. Crowley has found a home at St. Bonaventure and St. Bonaventure should be in good hands for the foreseeable future with a coach that has lived the entire spectrum of a head coach.
Breaking Down the Bonnies:
- How they got here-The Bonnies come into the A-10 Tournament with some confidence. Despite winning 16 straight regular season games, and finishing the season 16-0 on their home court, the Bonnies cooled off winning just 6 of their last 10. Cooled off in comparison to winning 16 straight of course. In that last stretch of 10 games, three of their wins came against, GW, St. Louis and Duquesne. Those teams are specifically listed because they are the top 3 seeds heading into the weekend.
- Keys to winning the weekend- They say in most sports that defense wins championships and in the case of the Bonnies, defense is the key to winning this championship. The Bonnies are allowing a paltry 55.4 points per game, have held A-10 teams to under 35% shooting and defend the arc to the tune of 29%. If the Bonnies stay within their game plan and execute defensively, this team can rip of three straight on the backs of the defense.
- Score and Score enough- The Bonnies are averaging a little over 64 points per game on the offensive end. In comparison, Duquesne (72.7 ppg), GW (71.9), and Saint Louis (71.2), are all averaging above 71 points per game. The ability to get to their average is crucial, but also know that Bonnies can fill the tin when needed although not often when they scored 80 points in a rout over Saint Louis back on February 10th.
Bonnies To Watch:
- #42 Katie Healy- The Bonnies leading scorer this season at 15.6 ppg, is shooting over 50% from the field and is the Bonnies leading rebounder at 7.1 rpg. The Senior came to St. Bonaventure after the last NCAA birth and is hoping to lead her class to another Dance . Healy does most of her work in the paint, as she hasn’t made a 3 pointer all season, so expect a ton of gritty Dion-Wright-like points in the paint with touch and finesse to finish around the rim.
#21 Nyla Rueter and#32 Miranda Drummond-In multi-game tournaments on consecutive days, the best players on the best teams will either be cold or be taken out of the gameplan. If that’s the case, somebody will need to pick up the slack and the great equalizer in college basketball is the 3 point shot. Rueter and Drummond lead the Bonnies in 3 point shooting at 37% and will need to make their shots in a cavernous Richmond Coliseum. They Bonnies struggle to score from 3 on the road, but with two shooters near 40% per game, the Bonnies aren’t a one trick pony on the offensive end.
Path to the NCAA: St. Bonaventure will get one of three teams in their first game, either #12 Davidson, #13 Richmond or #5 VCU. VCU split the season series with both the Spiders and Wildcats so there is no point in assuming VCU will be the team that is standing come Friday at 2 p.m. For comparison, the Bonnies beat Davidson, beat Richmond and fell to VCU.
Contributor- Jonathan May @jmay425
Images Courtesy of GoBonnies.com