St. Bonaventure dropped their fifth straight Atlantic-10 conference game Wednesday evening to VCU.
The Bonnies (11-8, 1-5) jumped out to a 10-0 lead before the first media timeout, but VCU (13-6, 4-2) outscored them 61 to 41 the rest of the way.
“We started the game exactly how we wanted,” said head coach Jim Crowley. “What we talked about, and we wanted to get to the rim, and we wanted offense at the rim.”
Hannah Little and Katie Healy had eight of Bona’s first 10 points. Bona’s offense was clicking, but then, for some reason, it stopped.
“We stopped doing what worked,” said Crowley. “We were attacking the rim, which is what our whole game plan was. We were moving. We had pace.”
The Bonnies held a 25-22 halftime lead. St. Bonaventure and VCU traded baskets for the first eight minutes of the second half before the Rams maintained the lead the rest of the way.
VCU’s Adaeze Alaeze had 15 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes played. She helped lead a very balanced Ram attack.
VCU had nine players play at least 14 minutes, and had five players score at least five points.
Bona’s bench was basically nonexistent. Gabby Richmond, Imani Outlaw and Miranda Drummond combined to score Bona’s eight bench points.
VCU had 22 bench points. Chadarryl Clay finished with 11 points, two assists, one steal and one block in 18 minutes. She sunk the 3-pointer that cut Bona’s lead to three points at halftime.
It wasn’t Bona’s defense that had issues, either. The defense has been fine all year. It was the offense that couldn’t score, but when the offense isn’t clicking, the defense becomes even more important.
“I wasn’t terribly disappointed with our defense,” said Crowley. “I think when you’re not getting anything out of your offense every defensive mistake seems bigger.”
The Bonnies shot 4-for-20 for three. Some of those 3-pointers were towards the end of the game when they needed to score them. St. Bonaventure outscored VCU in the paint 26-20, but that could have been a larger advantage of the Bonnies if they continued to attack the paint.
“I don’t know why we stop doing stuff that works,” said Crowley. “We tried to sub people. We tried to get on people. We tried to challenge people. We couldn’t get it back.”
Losing streaks like the one Bona’s experiencing now can mentally influence players.
“When you’re struggling, it’s easy to go in your own world,” said Crowley. “It’s easy to get frustrated. It’s easy to let those things bother you.”
But there’s time to figure it out.
St. Bonaventure has 10 more games until tournament play begins.
“Just got to find something,” said junior Nyla Rueter. “Got to find a spark.”
“We need to get it together,” said Healy. “We need to find a way. There’s nothing really else to say.”