OLEAN, N.Y. — No one took St. Bonaventure seriously. Not even its own fans.
Down by 20 points at the half, then- No. 14/13 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) GW women’s basketball team went on a 22-3 run in the second period to take the lead by two with less than three minutes remaining.
“When that happened, everyone in the arena was thinking (about my team), ‘Oh they gave it a good run, here we go,'” St. Bonaventure coach Jim Crowley said.
But Crowley had faith in his team and its ability to upset what he admitted is a better basketball team. And when it did just that, 63-60, Saturday night, his players erupted into jubilation on the floor, jumping into each other’s arms because of what this victory meant to the team. It was the program’s first-ever win over a ranked opponent and its first over the Colonials (20-5, 8-2 A-10) in 27 tries. It also marked the first time St. Bonaventure reached 17 wins in one season.
“It feels amazing. There’s not one word that can describe it,” the Bonnies’ Dana Mitchell, who had 14 points. “To beat a ranked team when no one thinks anything of us is just a really good feeling.”
While the final score is probably because GW came out flat in the first half and looked somewhat lackadaisical on defense, it also shows that the Colonials cannot take any opponent for granted.
Unlike in years past, when St. Bonaventure (17-9, 5-6 A-10) was typically one of the conference’s cellar dwellers, it has seen a resurgence this year. The Bonnies’ record in the A-10 puts them right in the middle of the pack, perhaps even within reach of one of the four coveted first-round byes for the conference tournament, which starts March 7 in Philadelphia.
The Colonials, who have the same A-10 record as both Temple and Xavier but sit in second because of tiebreakers, have all but locked up one of those four spots but still have some work left to do. As the season wraps up, squads start to fight for placement in the conference tournament and the prize that comes with winning it: an NCAA tournament bid.
The Colonials saw last year in a semifinals loss to Saint Joseph’s that every team comes prepared for the A-10 tournament. Members of GW’s team have said that they are always aware of being the hunted team in the conference. Junior Jessica Adair sometimes likens it to having targets on their backs.
The Bonnies were prepared for GW Saturday afternoon while the Colonials were not even ready for themselves.
“We were running in slow motion in the first half,” senior Kim Beck said. “It was all on us. They weren’t taking us out of ourselves – we were taking us out of ourselves.”
The Colonials next host Saint Louis (10-15, 5-5) Wednesday at 7 p.m.