St. Bonaventure takes on Fordham Thursday night at Rose Hill Gym in Bronx, N.Y. The Rams (15-7, 7-2) defeated the Bonnies (12-10, 2-7) at the Reilly Center on Jan. 11, 72-62.
Fordham has the best field goal percentage defense in the conference. The Rams play stingy defense that forces opponents to shoot difficult shots. The Bonnies shot a little above average (40 percent) in the first half against Fordham, but the Bonnies defense struggled slowing down Fordham’s offense. The Rams shot 53.8 percent from the field, including a staggering 62.5 percent from three.
“I think they have multiple weapons, especially with their 3-point shooting,” said junior guard Nyla Rueter. “Usually teams try to focus on the threes, and try not to let them have threes, but if you overcommit to the threes, then they can drive and then can get post ups.”
Forward Samantha Clark had eight points on 4-of-5 shooting in the first half. She benefited from Fordham’s hot 3-point shooting.
“Overall, everyone’s good at what they do,” said Rueter.
The Bonnies will have to be better on defense this time around, and it’s not just a focus on protecting the perimeter.
“Protecting the paint: Go harder (is key),” said Rueter. “Not really focus too much on the three, but you just got to be there and try to go harder.”
The effort has been there for the Bonnies the past two games, and that starts at practice.
“It’s about practice,” said Rueter. “The past week we’ve been going pretty hard, and we’ve been doing pretty well in practice, and we’ve felt like it’s carried over to the games, so all we got to do is keeping playing hard and competing in practice.”
Offensively, the Bonnies need contributions from Rueter and Katie Healy. Healy averaged 19.5 points over the last two games, and Rueter poured in 22 points against UMass. They’re very important offensive weapons that struggled shooting against Fordham the first time, but for Rueter and her teammates it always starts at the defensive end.
“We try to just feed off of each other,” said Rueter. “Usually if we’re doing well on the defensive end then it will carry over to offense.”