By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
BRONX, NY - Coming off a four-game losing streak, Fordham hosted St. Bonaventure on Saturday. The Rose Hill meeting saw the Bonnies coming in winners of three of their last four. Included was a road win at UMass and a home conquest of Duquesne. On this afternoon, though, Fordham did not disappoint the home crowd as they posted a 57-45 victory over St. Bonaventure. The Rams, back on track, improved to 7-4 in conference while St. Bonaventure is now 4-7.
First five possessions:
St. Bonaventure: Missed FG, field goal, missed FG, missed FG, offensive foul
Fordham: Missed FG, three-point FG, field goal, three-point FG, offensive foul
Trailing Fordham 8-2 at the 7:37 mark, the Bonnies’ offense started slowly while the defense allowed Fordham to get out and bury two three-pointers to add to the early struggles.
St. Bonaventure has been susceptible to prolonged offensive droughts this season. They lack the go-to player able to get you a basket to end such dry spells. The first quarter saw Fordham opening a nine-point lead as the Bonnies struggled on offense. The Rams show a 106 offensive efficiency to that of 53 for the Bonnies.
The Bonnies had their offensive woes, and you must credit Fordham’s defense for having a good deal to do with that. Fordham went almost six minutes of the second quarter without scoring, but at the half; given the first twenty minutes, St. Bonaventure was not in a bad position to be in, especially on the road.
Halftime: Fordham 24, St. Bonaventure 22
Offensive efficiency: Fordham 83, St. Bona 79
A 29-possession, grind-it-out pace was better suited for the Bonnies at that juncture.
Games like this, close, hanging in the balance, you need someone to step up. Enter Kate Kreslina. The Fordham redshirt freshman guard knocked down several crucial threes to keep the Bonnies at bay, as they managed just eight points on the board in the third quarter. Credit the Rams for capitalizing and opening an 11-point margin.
Fordham has utilized Lauren Holden, Anna Kelly and Asnate Fomina at the point, and the offense has run well under the direction of each player. Gabby Richmond is doing some nice things inside for the Bonnies. Collectively, though, they are struggling. With four minutes remaining, the Bonnies still did not have a double-figure scorer in the books.
Ball control index:
St. Bona: 1.00
St. Bonaventure coach Jesse Fleming praised Fordham’s ability to establish a grind-it-out pace, which he thought was to St. Bonaventure’s benefit as well. It very well may have been. When you do not make shots for a long stretch, pace will not help you. The Bonnies went through significant stretches where points were hard to come by. Credit Fordham’s defense for that.
Possessions: Fordham 59, St. Bona 58
Offensive efficiency: Fordham 97, St. Bona 78
eFG%: Fordham 46, St. Bona 42
Free Throw Rate: Fordham 23, St. Bona 15
Offensive Rebound%: Fordham 33, St. Bona 16
Turnover Rate: Fordham 20, St. Bona 21
Turnover Rate: Fordham 20, St. Bona 21
Leading scorers and EF:
St. Bona: Mariah Ruff 14 points, EF 13.
Fordham: Kate Kreslina 14 points, EF 25.
What Fordham did well: Defend and rebound. Fordham created second chances by pounding the offensive boards. They led 12-5 in the offensive rebounding department.
What St. Bonaventure did well: Create opportunities off forced turnovers. The Bonnies forced Fordham into a 20 percent turnover rate. They did lead 16-9 in points off turnovers. On a day of offensive struggles, the Bonnies converted those forced turnovers into much needed points.
“A grind playing Fordham. Coach Gaitley puts them in great spots. They came out hot and Davis established herself. I thought the first half, they made contested shots, second half, they played through Davis. We needed to help inside and it left 35 (Kate Kreslina) open. They get the lead and bleed you dry working the clock. Fordham defended well, Lauren Holden face guarded and denied. There were times we ran some good stuff, but Fordham made her work for everything. They were plus-13 on rebounding last game. There were four or five times we missed a box out. I thought we would be minus-two or three unfortunately they were plus-nine on us.” - St. Bonaventure coach Jesse Fleming
“Hard fought game, always with St. Bonaventure, they make you work for everything. Defensively, we found a way to get it done. G (G’mrice Davis) sees she will be doubled a lot. She looks out of that double team. We got stagnant when we tried to break down people on the perimeter, we got stagnant. We are at our best when everyone is contributing. We talk about limiting turnovers all the time. We look at G in the post. She may be doubled, and she will look for open players. St. Bonaventure is third in the conference in steals, they make you work for everything. G owns the boards from a defensive standpoint. It was huge having all the alumni here for the game. All about team success with our alums. You have to have a successful team, and the alumni had a sense of pride watching us. The last few games were not who we are. We did not defend and played as individuals. That is not who we are at all. Today was different. We had a great practice yesterday. Anna Kelly gave us a lift. Like Lauren Holden, she was a scoring point guard in high school, so she is adjusting but does a lot of things well. We did play three point guards, which helps us, as we can go small or big depending on the situation.”- Fordham coach Stephanie Gaitley