PHILADELPHIA, PA 3/9/2013 – For the Saint Joseph’s Hawks to advance in the Atlantic 10 Tournament they would have to win a game at the opponents pace. It take toughness and desire to advance at this time of year and the 4th seeded Hawks showed it with a gritty 73 – 60 win over the 5th seeded Duquesne Dukes in the Atlantic 10 Women’s Tournament quarterfinal. Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin felt her team was up to the challenge in all aspects of the game.
“Our kids came to play,” said Griffin. “They were focused offensively, they were focused defensively, we executed when we needed to execute, we got stops when we needed to get stops, and we made free throws when we needed to make free throws. We got good floor play from our guards and when it was time to make shots, we made shots.”
“We had a business-like approach and accepted the challenge.”
Junior guard Erin Shields paced the Hawks with a game-high 21 points making 7 of 14 from the field and 3 of 7 three-point shots. Senior guard Ashley Prim added 16 points. Senior center Chatilla van Grinsven recorded another double-double with 10 points and 20 rebounds while adding 4 assists. Reserve forward Ilze Gotfrida contributed 10 points.
The Hawks would have to show toughness and did so by winning the rebound battle 40 – 31. Duquesne did have 17 offensive rebounds, but Saint Joseph’s had a 14 – 11 edge in second chance points. WInning the rebound battle had a positive effect for Saint Joe’s now and can in the future.
“To win championships you have to rebound and you have to defend at this time of year,” Griffin said. “Out rebounding is going to be paramount in these next two opportunities.”
The attacking style of Duquesne was a cause of concern. Saint Joe’s committed more turnovers than Duquesne, 16 – 9, but had a 15 – 14 edge in points off turnovers. Duquesne Coach Susie McConnell-Serio was happy with the pace of the game, but Saint Joseph’s capitalized on the mistakes made by her team.
“We lost Shields a few times,” said McConnell-Serio. “They broke our back. Every time we made a run they answered at the other end.”
“We knew they could make you pay for playing sloppy, so that was a point of emphasis,” said Griffin.
Junior Forward Wumi Agunbiade led the Dukes in scoring with 20 points. Senior guard Vanessa Abel scored 13 points for Duquesne and junior forward Orsi Szecsi rounded out the double figures scorers for the Dukes with 10 points.
Saint Joseph’s took a 24 – 21 lead into the locker room. The Hawks took control of the game in the first eight and a half minutes of the second half by going on a 23 – 9 run to take their largest lead of the game of 15 points at the 11:25 mark. Saint Joe’s got the ball inside during the run making 6 layups. The run was capped by three-pointers by Gotfrida and junior forward Kelsey Berger. Duquesne would get no closer than 7 points for the remainder of the game.
From the field Saint Joseph’s was 22 – 46 (47.8%) and made 8 of 14 from beyond the arc. Most of the damage was done in the second half as SJU went 14 – 23 (60.9%) and made 6 of 8 three-pointers. The Hawks made 21 of 28 free throws. Duquesne was limited to 23 of 66 shooting (34.8%), and 2 of 8 from distance.
Saint Joseph’s improves to 21 – 8 for the season. With the win the Hawks face the top-seeded Dayton Flyers in the semifinal round. A game that the Saint Joe’s players anxiously look forward to playing. The team knows what it will take to win against an opponent the likes of Dayton.
“I think we have to play harder than we played today because of how good they are,” said Prim. “They have a lot of athletic players that can beat us at every spot. We have to play better as a team to out-weigh that. It’s going to be exciting, it’s going to be a good game. We have to be tough enough. We have the power to take whatever they got. I am looking forward to it.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian
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