RICHMOND, Va. — The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team didn’t lose too many games this season but it entered the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament on Friday fresh off a loss to La Salle last Saturday.
Those same Explorers tried to end the season of the A-10’s feel-good story, but Bona’s quest for the NCAA Tournament lives on as the Bonnies earned a 54-42 victory at Richmond Coliseum in a conference quarterfinal.
Hannah Little scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead Bona into today’s semifinal against Fordham (1:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network). The Rams beat Duquesne, 45-41, on Friday.
The Bonnies beat the Rams, 74-67, during the teams’ only meeting Feb. 1 at the Reilly Center.
Little scored the first five points of Bona’s game-deciding 9-0 run with under five minutes left that enabled the Bonnies to increase their 40-36 lead and eventually coast to victory in a game in which La Salle pretty much stayed within a possession or two of the lead.
The two teams split the regular-season series with Bona winning, 58-35, at home only to lose in Philadelphia last weekend, 55-49.
The Bonnies opened like a favorite should against an underdog as the second seeds blitzed the No. 7 Explorers for a game-opening 9-0 run. Katie Healy of Lancaster scored seven of those points.
But Bona, which finished with 12 turnovers in the game, only led by 18-14 at halftime as it managed only 20 field-goal attempts in the first half. The Bonnies’ defense, though, limited La Salle to 4-of-33 shooting in the opening half. For the game, Bona (23-9) held the Explorers (15-15) to 22.2 percent shooting.
Little came up huge, scoring timely baskets for the Bonnies and her 17 rebounds is the fifth-best rebounding effort in an A-10 Tournament game.
Little now has 284 rebounds this season, breaking the Bona record of 269 set by Sue Shay in 1989-90.
Nyla Rueter added 14 points in the win, including the final four of that decisive 9-0 run, while Healy finished with 11 points.
Chelsea Bowker had three points and is now 28 shy of 1,000 for her career.
Friday’s game was the first Bona played since the sudden passing of the team’s assistant sports information director Brian Moretti. Moretti died unexpectedly Wednesday from an apparent heart attack.
In other A-10 Tournament games:
Emily Tapio and Abigail Corning each scored 12 points to lead Fordham to its win and a date with Bona.
Top-seeded Dayton scored 38 points during a furious rally in the second half as Celeste Edwards’ layup with six seconds left broke a 60-60 tie during the Flyers’ 62-61 win over VCU. VCU’s Keira Robinson missed a free throw that could have forced overtime with three seconds left.
Dayton will play George Washington in the other A-10 semifinal today. GW edged Saint Joseph’s in overtime, 82-79. Jonquel Jones led the winners with 30 points and 16 rebounds, but teammate Hannah Schaible scored the final four points for the Colonials.
George Washington’s Danni Jackson’s two free throws with 50 seconds left forced the overtime session.