Sunday, March 4, 2012

Van Tatenhove, Jenkins Lead St. Bonaventure To A-10 Title Game

St. Bonaventure University Athletic News
March 4, 2012
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St. Bonaventure's record-setting season continued Sunday as the top-seeded Bonnies (29-2) claimed a dominant 78-52 win over fifth-seeded Saint Joseph's (21-10) Sunday on its home court of Hagan Arena in the semifinals of the 2012 Buick Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball.

With the win, Bonaventure advances to the title game of the A-10 Championship for the first time in program history. The Bonnies – winners of 18 in a row – will face either second-seeded Temple or third-seeded Dayton on ESPN2 Monday at 5 p.m.

Senior leading scorers Megan Van Tatenhove and Jessica Jenkins paced the Bona offensive attack by combining for 49 points. Van Tatenhove finished with season-high 27 points, while Jenkins tallied 22, and in the process moved to within just two 3-pointers of breaking the program's single-season record for made 3's of 100.

For the second consecutive game in the tournament, the Bonnies did not trail. In the quarterfinals against La Salle, the Bonnies led by as much as 26, and against the Hawks in the semifinals they led by 29 at one juncture. SBU has won its first two games of the A-10 Championship by a combined 41 points.

Van Tatenhove and Jenkins teamed up to tally 29 of St. Bonaventure's 33 first-half points as Bonaventure held a 33-20 advantage at halftime. SBU raced out to an 8-2 start, capped by a Van Tatenhove traditional three-point play. Holding that same six-point lead later in the half at 24-18, Van Tatenhove and Jenkins went on their own personal 9-0 run to create a 15-point Bona cushion in the waning moments of the stanza.

Van Tatenhove constantly went to work in the low blocks, utilizing her great footwork for a majority of her 16 first-half points. The 6-foot-1 forward also knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the arc. Jenkins hit her first four shots – including three from 3-point range. For the game, SBU finished with season-best 40 points in the paint.

Saint Joe's opened the second half with a 6-0 spurt, but a pair of CeCe Dixon free throws spearheaded a 7-0 Bona retaliation, once again capped by Van Tatenhove who was fouled on a 3-point attempt and knocked down all three free throws.

From there the teams traded baskets until Jenkins delivered an early dagger midway through the second frame. The sharpshooter – who was battling a 24-hour bug the night before – sliced through the SJU defense for two before swiping a steal at the defensive end and pulling up in transition for 3 to cap a quick 5-0 spurt by her and put the Bonnies back up 13, 53-40.

The Bonnies, making their first visit to the A-10 Championship semifinals, were going up against a Saint Joseph's program which had advanced to the semifinals 17 previous times, going 10-7 in those games.

GAME NOTES: In their only other A-10 postseason meeting, the Bonnies defeated the Hawks, 72-65, on March 6, 2009 … St. Bonaventure defeated Saint Joe's in the regular season at the Reilly Center, 68-61 … Van Tatenhove went 8-10 from the free-throw line … junior Chelsea Bowker added seven points off the bench, Armelia Horton (six), Alaina Walker (four), CeCe Dixon (four), Jennie Ashton (four) and Doris Ortega (two) rounded out the Bona scoring … the Bonnies owned a 35-26 advantage on the boards … Michelle Baker was the lone Hawk to reach double-figure scoring as she tallied 22 … Bonaventure's 78 points are the third-highest it has scored this year … Jenkins owns the program's single-season 3-point record as she hit 100 last year.

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