It happened two minutes into the game.
St. Bonaventure had the ball, and Mariah Ruff found an open Katie Healy. Healy caught the ball and scored the Bonnies first basket of the game.
One player involved in that play went on to score 25 points.
If you asked someone which player would score 25 points, 10 times out of 10 the answer would be Healy, but Sunday Ruff scored 25 big-time points to give the Bonnies a needed victory.
Ruff had another assist to Gabby Richmond for Bona’s second bucket of the game before she made her first of seven threes.
“The first two passes I had got me going,” said Ruff. “That’s what got me going.”
It wasn’t the first make; it was making two easy buckets for her teammates. She got the feel of the game with those two assists, and that feeling got her going as she scored 14 points in seven minutes and twenty seconds in the first half.
Ruff had 17 points in a December game against UNC Greensboro, but it felt like Sunday was her “I arrived” party. She made important three-pointers in a game that her team sorely needed. Ruff has struggled shooting this year. Ruff’s made 28.4 percent of her attempts. She made 1-of-15 prior to Sunday’s 7-of-10 outing from deep.
But despite struggling, Ruff kept on fighting and working hard, and Sunday proved she’s more than a capable three-pointer shooter, and more importantly a girl that will do anything to win against a more publicized competitor.
Facing the most talented Atlantic 10 freshman, Charise Wilson, Ruff was able to outscore her by 15 points. Obviously it wasn’t a one-on-one game, but Ruff showed that Wilson’s not the only freshman capable of taking over a conference game.
“Our freshman’s pretty good,” said head coach Jim Crowley. “One of the things we recruited Mariah (Ruff) for is her competitiveness, and it showed”
Ruff played 35 minutes, grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists. She’s had her difficulties in conference play. The Bonnies have played 11 conference games, and Ruff now has double-figures in four of them.
“At times it’s tough as a freshman; you’re adjusting, you’re surviving, but (Sunday) she competed really hard,” said Crowley.
St. Bonaventure has five more games until tournament play begins. Ruff cannot possibly shoot 70 percent from deep like she did Sunday the rest of the way, but you can bet she’ll compete just as hard as she did Sunday.