Thursday, February 23, 2012

Late Run Clinches A-10 Regular-Season Crown For #19/22 Bonnies

St. Bonaventure University Athletic News
February 22, 2012
Watch The Archived Game

Sophomore CeCe Dixon hit a 3-pointer to spearhead a late 7-0 run by No. 19/22 St. Bonaventure (26-2, 13-0 Atlantic 10 Conference) as the Bonnies got past a defensive-minded Fordham squad, 52-45, to clinch at least a share of their first A-10 regular-season title.

With the win, St. Bonaventure clinched the No. 1 seed at next weekend's 2012 Buick A-10 Women's Basketball Championship. If the Bonnies defeat 1-27 Rhode Island in Providence on Saturday, they will earn the regular-season crown outright as Temple – even with a win Saturday – can get no better than 13-1 in A-10.

The women's basketball team becomes the first squad in school history to win a regular-season A-10 title as it ran its program-best winning streak to 15 straight.

Despite once again being blanketed by a defender, senior Jessica Jenkins led all scorers with 17 points. Classmate Megan Van Tatenhove added 14 points – 11 of which came in the second half – to help SBU erase a six-point halftime deficit.

Trailing by one with seven minutes remaining, junior Jordan McGee found Dixon on the wing with a ball reversal to give the Bonnies their first lead, 39-37, since the 10-minute mark of the first half. Van Tatenhove followed Dixon's triple with a pull-up jumper and Jenkins capped the minute-and-a-half spurt with a pair of free throws to give SBU what was then its largest lead of the night.

Fordham (11-17, 2-11 A-10) used a 20-10 first-half rebounding edge and five 3-pointers to take a 27-21 halftime lead. The Rams – who entered as statistically the best defensive team in the league – took control of the game in the opening stanza by packing four defenders in the paint and smothering Jenkins on the perimeter save for a couple brief looks which the sharpshooter turned into two 3-pointers.

However, the second half was a different story as the Bonnies – who entered as statistically the second-best defensive team in the league – outscored the Rams, 31-18, in the final 20 minutes. The 18 points represents the fewest second-half points Bona has allowed all year.

After shooting 41 percent (11-27) from the floor in the first half, SBU limited Fordham to just 30 percent (7-23) in the second stanza. Meanwhile, the Bonnies shot a blistering 50 percent (10-20) in the second half after connecting at just a 36-percent clip (8-22) in the first 20 minutes.

Jenkins hit three 3-pointers and now ranks 16th on the NCAA all-time list with 321 for her career. The Ohio native also knocked down all four of her free throws to move her season percentage to .967 (59-61), including a perfect 38-38 in A-10 games.

Charlotte Stoddart led Fordham – which had just six players log game action – with 14 points, while Becky Peters added 10 points and nine rebounds as part of the Rams' 36-21 rebounding advantage.

St. Bonaventure will be looking to become just the seventh team in A-10 history to go undefeated through a conference schedule as it travels to Rhode Island on Saturday. Tipoff from the Thomas M. Ryan Center is set for 4:30 p.m.

Game Notes: The win was the seventh straight for the Bonnies over Fordham … the victory is the sixth in the month of February, which ties a program record … Dixon finished with seven crucial bench points and three assists, while junior Chelsea Bowker added three off the bench … after going 2-5 from the free-throw line in the first half, SBU went 9-10 in the second half … Van Tatenhove pulled down four boards to move into sole possession of ninth on the school's all-time rebounding list with 586 for her career … sophomore Doris Ortega scored four points and pulled down a team-best six rebounds … junior Alaina Walker added five points, while redshirt senior Armelia Horton contributed two points in SBU's final home game of the season.

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