ST. BONAVENTURE — Finishing games had been a weakness of the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team earlier in Atlantic 10 play.
Jesse Fleming’s team held a lead for over three quarters on Sunday, however, and the Bonnies never looked back from a 20-0 first-half run on their way to beating Davidson, 71-58, at the Reilly Center.
“Hopefully, we’re forming at the right time,” Fleming said. “We’ve talked a lot about February being a new start. Hopefully we can get rid of that label that we’re not finishing things and we’re going to finish things more often now.”
After trailing 10-7 midway through the first quarter, a 3-pointer by Maddie Dziezgowski sparked a remarkable run of 20 straight points by the Bonnies. What resulted was a 27-10 SBU lead with just over five minutes to play in the first half.
“For the most part, we were just doing our job,” Fleming said. “We contested their 3s, we didn’t let them get downhill, we were being smart with our help so that we weren’t giving them clean looks. Davidson lives on transition, and when you can make shots on them, they can’t really get going.”
Davidson fought back throughout the second half, cutting the Bona lead to as little as three in the third quarter and five in the fourth. Bona never lost the advantage, however, forcing 21 Wildcat turnovers while only turning the ball over 10 times itself.
Asianae Johnson led the Bona offense with 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field. Tori Harris, who made three of her six 3-point attempts in the game, scored 13 points. SBU used the 3-point shot to its advantage, shooting 40% from beyond the arc, while Davidson shot just over 18% from distance.
Davidson had four players reach double-digit scoring, as Chloe Welch scored 18 points while Suzi-Rose Deegan and Katie Turner each scored 10.
The Bonnies and Wildcats will face a quick turnaround before they play again at the Reilly Center on Monday at 6 p.m.
Fleming said that he expects a different game from Davidson the second time around, and pointed to the 41-29 rebound advantage that the Wildcats held on Sunday as an area in which his team can improve.
“We’ve just got to find a way to rebound the basketball better,” the fifth-year coach said. “I do think we dodged some bullets where we didn’t necessarily get back in transition and they missed 3s. I don’t think that’s going to happen two days in a row.”
Bona snapped a four-game losing streak, and in doing so, improved to 3-10 overall and 2-8 in the A-10. Davidson fell to 6-8 overall and 3-5 in league play.
“You just kind of go on a stretch there where you’re playing the ‘top top’ of the league,” Fleming said. “It’s just been a battle, and I know it’s mentally worn down on our players. I told them to celebrate it for a couple of hours, then we’re back here in 28 hours and get back to work.”