It's the final opener of the season for Big 4 women's hoops as Canisius kicks off its season by host St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies are already 1-0 after knocking off No. 25 St. John's at St. John's -- just the third win over a ranked opponent in Bona's program history. Senior Jessica Jenkins is 30 points shy of becoming the 19th member of Bona's 1,000 point club.
The Golden Griffisn meanwhile are looking for key contributions from sophomores Jen Morabito and Jamie Ruttle. Ruttle was the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year last year while Morabito was an all-rookie team selection.
Oh. And there's free hot chocolate at the Koessler Center tonight courtesy of the Hyatt Regency. And yes, there are marshmellows.
Check back for updates throughout the game.
Final: St. Bonaventure 74, Canisius 58. Bona wins its 13th straight game over a Big 4 opponent and moves to 2-0 on the season. The Griffs are 0-1.
18:18 left: Bona extends its lead to 42-28 and Canisius calls timeout. The Bonnies seem to have found their groove on both ends of hte floor. Jenkins hit a 3 to give her 11 points. For the record, Bona has won 12 straight games in the Big 4. Their last loss was Nov. 14, 2006 at Niagara, 71-64. (Thanks to Jason MacBain of Bona for pulling out that stat for me.)
15:01 left: Bona leads, 44-34. Three-point shooting by the Griffs have kept them in the game as Morabito and Ruttle hit from behind the arc, but the Bonnies are still playing aggressive. Jenkins will be shooting three foul shots out of the time out after she was hit by Morabito who was late getting around a solid screen set by Van Tatenhove.
10:53 left: The Bonnies take a 54-40 lead on a 3-pointer from CeCe Dixon. Van Tatenhove and Jenkins each have 14 points as Bona seems to be in control. But the Griffs are young and battling and not out of contention just yet.
7:36 left: It's raining 3-pointers for the Bonnies who extended their lead to 63-42. Their last four made shots have been 3-pointers, two from Dixon and two from Bowker.
3:03 left: The Griffs are tough. They're driving and getting to the foul line. Bona still holds a 65-52 lead, but Canisius won't go away. A good sign for the Griffs later in the season. The Bonnies, meanwhile, are just a step better.
A physical first half ends with a classic Bona defensive lockdown. Bona holds a 35-26 halftime lead over Canisius.
15:11 left: Canisius leads, 13-11. The Bonnies sprinted to a 7-3 lead but the Griffs went on a 7-2 run. Canisius is hitting its shots and the Bonnies are having difficulty getting around screens and out to the shooters. If the Griffs get confidence with their stroke this could be a high-scoring affair.
11:32 left: Canisius leads, 17-16. Turnovers on both sides but the Griffs were able to run and convert off a few Bona miscues in that segement. A 3-pointer from Chelsea Bowker keyed Bona in that stretch.
7:26 left: Bona leads, 23-17. The Griffs had three straight turnovers out of the last timeout and two missed shots. St. Bonaventure worked its offense for shots, though Jessica Jenkins bailed out the Bonnies with a 3-pointer for the 23-17 lead after her team did nothing but pass the ball around the perimeter for most of the shot clock.
3:53 left: Bona holds a 25-22 lead. A 3-pointer from Jen Morabito was the key for the Griffs while the Bonnies went cold from the field missing four shots with no offensive rebounds.
--- Amy Moritz