PHILADELPHIA, Pa. 3/15/12 – Playing their first game in nearly two weeks the Saint Joseph’s women’s basketball team started slowly, but found their stride defeating the Boston University Terriers 67 – 56 in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament game at the Hagan Arena. With the win the Hawks achieve their goal of playing another game. Which tournament doesn’t matter, playing does. And winning allows Saint Joseph’s to play again.
“Our dream is to be in the NCAA Tournament, but we don’t want to lose either,” said Senior guard Michelle Baker who scored a game-high 20 points in leading the Hawks to the win. “Whoever comes on that court, or wherever we go, we want to win the game. Whether it’s NCAA, NIT, or back yard basketball, I want to win the game.”
It took some time for the Hawks to get rolling, but finally got the offense in gear to take a 30 – 24 halftime lead. In the second half leading by a 44 – 42 score with 10:43 to play, Saint Joseph’s turned up the offense scoring the next 6 points to lead 50 – 42. Boston U. made a charge to get to within one at 51 – 50 at the 7:22 mark. The Hawks then turned up the defense holding the Terriers scoreless for over 6 minutes to move ahead 59 – 50 with just over a minute left.
“It takes a half before you get a feel for how you are supposed to play,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “Kelly (Cavallo) did a great job and our guard defense they had no answer for that.”
The game was won on the inside for Saint Joseph’s as they out rebounded Boston U. 46 – 38, and had a 20 – 10 lead in second chance points. Senior forward Kelly Cavallo pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds in the game, and added 9 points.
“Kelly has been our leading rebounder all year,” said Griffin. “I think that playing in our conference prepares you for games like this. She has played against some really tough post players the past twenty games. It paid off in games like today.”
“I just blocked out and went to the boards.” Cavallo said about her career best rebounding performance.
Senior guard Katie Kuester scored 13 points for the Hawks.
The Terriers were coached by Philadelphia native and Big Five Hall of Fame member Kelly Greenberg. She attended and played basketball for LaSalle University before coaching at the University of Pennsylvania. Boston U. had three players score in double-figures. Forward Rushidat Agboola had a team-high 14 points while guard Mo Moran added 12. Guard Chantell Alford scored 11 points and dished out a game best 7 assists.
Saint Joseph’s earns another home game against VCU on Sunday, March 18 at 2:30. The season is not over yet and that has meaning for Baker and the team.
“It’s so important,” said Baker. “I told Coach ‘I love this game’ and as long as I can play I’m going to play.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian