The Bonnies had a great opportunity last night. St. Bonaventure had won two straight games, and a 4-10 La Salle Explorers squad entered the Reilly Center.
St. Bonaventure had played with better pace, with better effort over the last seven games, but last night they revolted back to their old ways in a 66-53 loss.
“(It’s) obviously disappointing for a lot of reasons,” said head coach Jim Crowley. “(I’m) very disappointed that a team came in here in a late season game and wanted the game more than us.”
Effort has not been a constant for this team this year, and last night was pretty much the culmination of it all.
“I think we just didn’t come out ready and we let the game affect us and instead of fixing things, like coach said, we just let it carry on and on and no one stepped up to say like this is the end of it,” said Emily Michael. “We’re going to turn it around (and) no one did it.”
Without someone to step up in the final home game of the season, the Bonnies let La Salle do what they wanted offensively.
La Salle attacked the paint early and often. Guard Jasmine Alston had nine first half points, including a made basket and free throw following a Bona foul with 0.6 seconds left in the half to put La Salle up 28-18.
The Bonnies cut La Salle’s lead to five after a Katie Healy basket with 1:04 in the first half, but every time it would look like Bona had a run, La Salle would counter with one of their own.
“(The effort) didn’t get fixed,” said Crowley. “It would for a little bit and we would make a run then it would go right back. It was really bad team defense, and that’s what we we’re doing in January (during the losing streak).”
La Salle made 23-of-58 field goals Wednesday night. Fourteen of them came inside the paint.
“Our whole game plan was to keep them out of the paint and we just let them get layups,” said Crowley.
Nyla Rueter hit a 3-pointer to bring Bona within five with 8:48 left in the game, but the momentum didn’t swing the Brown and White’s way.
“We did a really poor job team defending, especially late and that really hurt,” said Katie Healy.
“We didn’t defend screens worth anything,” said Crowley. “We just couldn’t string stops, which is something we should do and we just didn’t.”
The Bonnies struggled mightily on offense in the first half. They had six points, on two Healy field goals and Rueter free throws, 12 minutes into the game.
“We talked about our whole game plan was to get in the paint and we just chucked threes,” said Crowley.
Healy scored 19 points, on 7-of-9 shooting, for the game.
“Katie was having a really good offensive game and we just didn’t get her the ball,” said Crowley.
Mariah Ruff and Rueter joined Healy in double-figures, but combined to shoot 8-of-26 from the field.
The Bonnies offense, which played with so much pace and movement in last weekend’s win over Davidson, stalled.
“I think (La Salle) plays a defense that if you get tentative and stand around and passive, they really find success,” said Crowley. “We did that, and we took early shots. (We just had) really poor shot selections.”
St. Bonaventure missed eight of their nine jump shot attempts in the first half.
“We just settled for early drive,” said Crowley. “We settled for jump shots.”
St. Bonaventure has one more game, at Duquesne on Saturday, before Atlantic 10 tournament begins.
The effort must return to salvage this season.
“We need to play hard and what happened (last night) is that no one played hard together, which is what we need at the end of the season,” said Healy. “We need it all the time. We need everyone.”