PHILADELPHIA – Senior guard Michelle Baker (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) posted her second consecutive 20-point game as fifth seed Saint Joseph’s eliminated fourth seed Richmond, 69-57, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Buick A-10 Women’s Basketball Championship on Saturday afternoon at Hagan Arena. Baker led all scorers on 9-of-16 shooting from the floor and 2-for-3 shooting from the foul line.
With the win, Saint Joseph’s (21-9) will face against top-seed #19/22 St. Bonaventure (28-2) in the semifinals on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:00pm.
Tied 42-42 at 16:31 in the second half, junior guard Ashley Prim (Ansonia, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral) and senior forward Kelly Cavallo (Hampton Bays, N.Y./Westhampton Beach) recorded back-to-back buckets for the Hawks to put them back ahead of the Richmond Spiders. Richmond would answer with a three and at 13:19, the Spiders closed the deficit to two at 48-46.
Baker scored the game’s next four points as the Hawks went on a 10-2 run that saw redshirt sophomore forward Ashley Robinson (Warrington, Pa./Archbishop Wood) good for two points, four rebounds, and one assist as the Hawks extended their lead back to 10 with 6:40 remaining in the game.
Richmond (22-8) responded with four points to cut the Hawk lead to six at 58-52, but Prim and Baker made back-to-back jumpers to extend the lead back to 10 once more at 3:09. The Spiders cut the lead to eight, but sophomore guard Erin Shields (Drexel Hill, Pa./Archbishop Carroll), Baker, and Prim would combine for 5-of-6 shooting from the line in the final minute to ensure the victory, 69-57.
Prim bucketed 15 points for Saint Joseph’s, shooting 80.0 percent (8-of-10) from the foul line, and added a team-high three assists. Cavallo and senior guard Katie Kuester (Media, Pa./Academy of Notre Dame de Namur) added eight points apiece, while Cavallo led the Hawks with eight rebounds. Senior forward Samira van Grinsven (Hlemond, Netherlands/Jan Van Brabant) added three blocks in the win.
Down 6-3 early on, Saint Joseph’s scored seven uncontested points on a layup and two free throws by Cavallo and a Prim three-pointer to take the lead, 13-8. Richmond responded with a layup but the Hawks then went on an 8-3 run that saw van Grinsven muscle two layups of her own to extend the lead back to eight at 21-13 with 12:15 remaining in the half.
Richmond answered with a 6-2 run, but Saint Joseph’s broke the half open as van Grinsven found Baker under the basket, Kuester drained a three from the corner, and van Grinsven made yet another layup to give the Hawks their biggest lead of the half, 32-19.
Down by 13, the Spiders chipped their way back, scoring five unanswered points, but Baker scored the Hawks’ next two points and Shields added a jumper from the foul line to extend the lead back to 36-27 in favor of the Saint Joseph’s.
Richmond responded with back-to-back jumpers by Becca Wann to pull the Spiders to within seven, but Baker scored the Hawks’ final four points of the half to give Saint Joseph’s a nine-point lead heading into the locker room, 42-33.
For the game, Saint Joseph’s shot 23-for-55 from the floor (41.8 percent) and 20-for-25 from the foul line (80.0 percent). On the defensive end, the Hawks kept Richmond to 33.8 percent shooting from the floor (24-for-71) and 16.7 percent from behind the arc (2-for-12) while forcing 13 turnovers and recording eight blocks.
Richmond held the edge in rebounding, 46-40, and was led by Genevieve Okoro’s 17-point, 11-rebound effort. Wann and Rachel Bilney contributed 12 and 14 points, respectively.