PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/17/2918 – It took the Saint Joseph’s Hawks awhile to get rolling. In the second half the team found its stride on defense and offense and the result was a 70 – 49 victory over city rival La Salle in women’s basketball on Senior Day at the Hagan Arena. Saint Joe’s extended their winning streak to four consecutive games, and remain tied for the fifth seed in the Atlantic 10.
“We won our fourth game in a row and we are playing they way we know how to play,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “We have to be opportunistic with the situation.”
Early in the game it looked to be a city classic. The Explorers held a 35 – 29 halftime lead. Saint Joseph’s got it going on offense getting the ball inside as Chelsea Woods and Amanda Fioravanti pushed the Hawks to a two-point lead after three quarters.
Getting close baskets opened up the outside for Saint Joe’s as the offenses became balanced. But it was the SJU defense that decided the game winning the fourth quarter 21 – 2. Saint Joseph’s scored the first 19 points of the final ten minutes.
“I think what got us that balance was scoring from all five positions,” Griffin said. “Once we settled down in the second half and played just a little bit harder. We were deferring a little in the first half.”
The Hawks made half of their shots (25 of 50) and went 17 for 20 from the charity stripe. The Explorers went 15 of 31 in the first half, but had only 6 baskets on 25 attempts from the floor.
Four Saint Joe’s players scored in double figures led by Sarah Veilleux who scored a game-high 19 points making two from beyond the arc and was a perfect 7 for 7 from the free throw line. Woods scored 17 points and took down a team-high 9 rebounds. Fioravanti had 12 points and Alyssa Monaghan scored 10 in addition to her 5 assists.
Turnovers were a problem for the Explorers who committed 18 that gave the Hawks a 23 – 4 advantage in points off turnovers.
“It’s momentum,” said Veilleux about the defense. “We are turning people over, getting big stops, and on the other end we are making shots. We got really good momentum when we needed it. We didn’t feel it in the first half, but did in the second half.”
Adreana Miller led La Salle with 13 points. Amy Griffin added 11 counters. Ashanti Freeland grabbed a game-high 10 boards.
The Explorers (8 – 19, 3 – 11) have two regular season games remaining hosting Davidson before going to George Mason. La Salle has lost six of the last seven games dropping to seed number twelve. LSU will try to get the highest possible seed in the A10 Tournament, but will not have enough to host a first round game..
Saint Joseph’s (14 – 12, 9 – 5) will play two more regular season games. The Hawks host George Washington on Tuesday. The teams are tied for fifth place with SJU. Saint Joe’s will end the regular season at Fordham before hosting a first-round conference tournament game.
“We’ve got to keep it rolling,” Veilleux said. “We’ve just won four in a row sharing the ball and running the floor.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian