OLEAN – It’s all about the finish. And Sunday afternoon, the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team didn’t have a very good one.
The Bonnies blew a late seven-point lead while the Temple Owls crashed the offensive glass and created second opportunities en route to a 67-59 win in front of 527 at the Reilly Center.
While Bona missed shots down the stretch, it was rebounding that caused the problems. The Bonnies failed to generate their own second chances and couldn’t win the rebounding battle on the defensive side.
Temple had 11 offensive rebounds in the second half and turned them into 10 second-chance points.
That, in a nutshell, is how St. Bonaventure lost its Atlantic 10 opener.
“I’m very pleased with our kids’ defensive approach for the most part,” Bona coach Jim Crowley said. “We did offensively what we wanted to but didn’t always make the shot. We were good at doing some things. We didn’t rebound down the stretch. That’s the simple side of it. When you’re up seven with six [minutes] to go, you’ve got to finish it off by ending possessions on defense. We didn’t do that.”
The Bonnies took a seven-point lead (55-48) with 6:03 left to play when Doris Ortega hit a jump shot.
But it went south from there.
Temple used a 6-0 run to get back in the game while the Bonnies missed shots, gave up offensive rebounds and had untimely turnovers. A three-pointer from Tyonna Williams gave the Owls the lead, 61-59, with 1:26 left and Temple hit its free throws to close out the win.
“To be honest, it got to the point” where the Owls were missing shots, Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said of the final six minutes of the game. “They still were wide open shots but we were able to get the rebound.”
The Owls fed many of those rebounds to Victoria Macaulay in the post. Macaulay finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds for Temple (7-8, 1-0 A-10), while Erica Covile had 11 points and seven rebounds, including four offensive boards.
Ortega paced the Bona offense with 16 points, but even she struggled at times, missing her first five shots of the second half. All in the flow of the offense, all types of shots she regularly makes, she could not get the ball to drop.
“It was going in the first half,” Ortega said. “No excuse. I should have made the shot and it didn’t go in. My team gave me confidence, got me good shots and open shots. They’d rather me take the shot than not take it at all.”
That’s true. Crowley has always wanted his shooters to keep shooting and in the big picture, the Bonnies shot well. Bona hit 45.3 percent (24 of 53), knocking down 5 of 11 three-pointers.
The problem came when the Bona offense picked times to hit a lull and when it stopped aggressively driving to the basket, which took away chances to create.
Meanwhile, there was that little matter of rebounding.
The Owls finished with a 38-31 advantage, the difference coming on the offensive glass – 15 for Temple and just eight for the Bonnies.
“The main part of it was we couldn’t win those rebounds,” said Alaina Walker, who paced the Bonnies with eight boards. “We allowed them to have second and third chances. To win that game, we needed to win those rebounds.”
“We can’t blow another lead because we don’t rebound,” Crowley said. “That’s on our players to correct. It’s not all of a sudden that you magically make an adjustment. You know how to box out. It burned us before. Let’s not let it happen again.”
The Bonnies (7-9, 0-1 A-10) will play at Richmond on Wednesday and return home to host Massachusetts next Sunday.