Saint Joseph’s Defeats Davidson 64 – 53 in Second Round
WILMINGTON, DE 3/2/2023 –
The Saint Joseph’s Hawks advance in the Atlantic 10 Women’s Tournament with a solid effort on defense and going to their strength on offense defeating the Davidson Wildcats 64 – 53. # 6 St. Joe’s will play the #3 seed Saint Louis Billikens next.
“I think it was a game of runs,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “We punched first, then they punched back and it just kind of went on that way. This time of year you really want to be strong in your fundamentals, defensive shell principles and relying on those things.”
Defense and a Scoreless Streak
The Wildcats were held to a single-digit 5 point first quarter. The Hawks started quickly scoring the first none points of the game. Davidson recovered and eventually took a lead in the second quarter. SJU fought back and retook the lead at halftime on a layup by Mackenzie Smith at the buzzer. That gave the Hawks a lift.
“Any positive can swing by halftime is really beneficial for any group,” Smith said. “But I think for us it really set the tone that we’re here and we’re going to get it done, so we keep pushing forward.”
Saint Joseph’s took control of the game early in the third quarter getting 8 of the first 10 points. Davidson pulled to within 36 – 33. At the 2:42 mark Smith converted a traditional three-point play and that began a 16 – 0 run by the Hawks, holding the Wildcats scoreless for 4:49 seconds to go in front 52 – 33.
“I think we were doing a better job of getting stops on defense,” Brugler said. “And that momentum from our defensive end was shifting to the offense, which was helping us get open shots or just running transition to get the looks that we were looking for.”
Inside Offense by the Hawks Big Three
As the game was played close to the basket, the advantage was to St. Joe’s. Brugler, Smith, and forward Laura Ziegler scored 45 of the 64 points by the team as 23 of the 25 baskets were from inside the arc. Smith led the way with 17 points. Brugler scored 15 points while Ziegler added 13.
The strength is there, but Griffin would like to see more inside – outside balance.
“We shot 53 percent which was great, a lot of those came from inside,” Griffin observed. “We would like to see a little more balance. So that’s where I think we need to improve.”
What the Numbers Say
Smith pulled down a team-high 8 rebounds. The Hawks went to the free throw line 14 times converting 12. The Wildcats made 4 of 8 from the charity stripe.
Ellie Sutphin scored a game-high 18 points making 8 of 16 and sank two three-pointers. She pulled down 11 caroms, a game-best.
How the Hawks Got to the Next Round
“Very proud of the way our team came out, very focused,” said Griffin. “I thought defensively we set the tone in the beginning of the first quarter. They gave us a run. They certainly did, but the relentlessness and selflessness of this team came out today. These two ladies to my right (Brugler and Smith) did a great job leading us in those categories along with their teammates. We were able to make plays timely times. I think that’s why we were able to advance. We shot the ball when we needed to shoot the ball.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian