BY RAY FLORIANI
Bronx, NY - On senior night, Fordham hosted St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies entered Rose Hill with a two-game win streak and 22 victories to their credit. Fordham, coming off two tough losses, stood at 12-15. To no surprise, a close one was expected in this latest ‘holy war.’ After three quarters, the score was knotted at 49. The Rams surged over the final ten minutes to post a 77-68 victory at Rose Hill Gym on Wednesday.
The crucial, yet sometimes overlooked, minutes....
Coaches implore and preach the value of the first few minutes. Of vital importance to many mentors is how they close a half those last few minutes. With four minutes remaining in the second quarter, St. Bonaventure held a 41-34 lead. The final four minutes saw the teams combine for one field goal, an inside move by Fordham’s Samantha Clark. At the break, the Bonnies went in with a 41-36 lead. Give the Rams credit. They only chipped a bucket into the deficit, yet prevented Bonaventure from re-establishing a double-digit lead to take into halftime.
The breakdown at the start of the second half....
First five possessions:
St. Bonaventure: Turnover, missed FG, missed FG, turnover, missed FG
Fordham: Missed FG, two Clark free throws, missed FG, turnover, missed FG
(41-38 St. Bonaventure at 6:51 mark)
Possessions: Bona 62, Fordham 65
Offensive efficiency: Bona 110, Fordham 119
eFG: Bona 54, Fordham 57
FT rate: Bona 19, Fordham 34
OREB pct.: Bona 27, Fordham 17
TO rate: Bona 15, Fordham 12
Leading scorers and EF:
St. Bonaventure: Mariah Ruff 21 points, EF 25.
Fordham: Samantha Clark 20 points, EF 42.
What St. Bonaventure did well: Shoot the three and get the early lead. The Bonnies' 54 % eFG mark was courtesy of a 62.5% three-point percentage. On the road, establishing a lead is important. The Bonnies did that with a 14-point lead early in the second quarter. Unfortunately, they couldn’t sustain.
What Fordham did well: Score. As noted previously, the game was tied at 49 after three. The Rams rang up 28 final quarter points to seal the verdict. Fordham's efficiency for the 17-possession fourth quarter was a superlative 165.
The Rams put five players in double figures. Danielle Burns had a misleading line. The junior forward shot 4-of-11 for 11 points. In the last quarter, she came up huge, hitting four field goals, including one from three-point range. In the stretch, Burns was a major factor in the Fordham win. The Bonnies had a 13-5 edge in second chance points. That tied in closely to their offensive rebounding percentage advantage.
Katie Healy of St. Bonaventure and Fordham’s Samantha Clark had double-doubles. Healy scored 14 points, adding 11 rebounds. Clark had a game-high 17 rebounds along with her 20 points. Clark, a senior, celebrated her night with a 40-minute outing. The Bonnies shot 6-of-11 from the liner. That percentage (54,5%) was lower than the 62.5% they shot from long range.
“They were dictating pace. We had to slow it down. We zoned a bit to get the pace more to our liking. We found out today we would not have (a good inside player) G’Mrice Davis (concussion). Everyone responded and made the necessary adjustments. Mariah Huff is just so tough. She is a great example of that (Bonaventure) team. They play hard and Jim (coach Crowley) just does a great job.” - Fordham coach Stephanie Gaitley
“There are three seasons. The early nonconference part, the conference and the post season. We are heading into the ‘third season.’ I think the league is wide open. Duquesne is really tough, but you have a number of good teams. Our conference RPI is an impressive seven.” - Stephanie Gaitley on the upcoming A-10 Tournament
“When we were ahead 14, (early second quarter) I thought we could get separation. We didn’t get the stops we needed at that point. In the fourth quarter, we got behind, then had several consecutive scores to put us in a good position. Then we were unable to come up with a key rebound on a few trips. (Samantha) Clark was great, but we expected her to give it all as a senior in her last home game. (Mariah) Ruff had a lot to do. We asked her to handle the ball, shoot and defend. She did a great deal, but could have used some help. We have a very good Duquesne team to finish the regular season. Then there is the tournament. Our main concern is getting back to defending. We did not defend as well tonight and need to defend as we did earlier this season.” - St. Bonaventure coach Jim Crowley