PHILADELPHIA – Saint Joseph’s senior guard Michelle Baker (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) posted her third-straight game with 20 points, but it wasn’t as the Hawks couldn’t pull the upset over top seed seed #19/22 St. Bonaventure, 78-52, in the semifinals of the 2012 Buick Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship Sunday afternoon at Hagan Arena. Baker posted a season-high 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor and 4-5 shooting from the foul line while adding a team-high three assists.
Down 33-20 at the start of the second half, Saint Joseph’s (20-10) would go on a 6-0 run fueled by Baker and junior guard Ashley Prim (Ansonia, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral) to tighten the deficit to seven at 18:24.
St. Bonaventure (29-2) answered back with six uncontested points to widen the Bonnie lead back to 14, but Baker nailed a jumper and collected a foul, sending her to the line. Her shot hit off the rim as senior guard Katie Kuester (Media, Pa./Academy of Notre Dame de Namur) aggressively pulled down the offensive board and put it through to put the Hawks back within 10 at 40-30.
Saint Joseph’s continued to chip away at the St. Bonaventure lead as Prim knocked down a three with 11:27 remaining in the game and Baker knocked down a jumper to bring the Hawks to within eight, but the Bonnies would explode for a 20-5 run en route to the 78-52 victory.
Prim chipped in eight points and added two assists for Saint Joseph’s while sophomore forward Ashley Robinson pulled down a game-high nine defensive rebounds in the loss.
Down 12-8 in the early going, Baker would score the Hawks’ next six points and sophomore forward Ilze Gotfrida (Kandava, Latvia/Rigas Secondary School No. 49) sank a jumper to cut the deficit to three at 19-16 at 9:13.
St. Bonaventure responded with a 14-2 run on a combined effort from Jessica Jenkins and Megan Van Tatenhove to extend the Bonnie lead to 28-18 with 3:18 remaining. Jenkins and Van Tatenhove would score a combined 29 of the Bonnies’ 33 first-half points.
Saint Joseph’s was kept scoreless for just over six minutes before Prim added the final bucket of the half to bring the Hawks within 13 at 33-20 at the half.
Saint Joseph’s shot 40.0 percent from the floor (20-of-50) but was kept to just 14.3 percent shooting from behind the arc (2-of-14). Making her 125th consecutive appearance in today’s game, Baker passed Kim Foley (1985-89) and Timisha Gomez (2004-08) to rank first on the Hawks’ all-time list for career appearances.
On the other end of the floor, St. Bonaventure shot 26-of-53 (49.1 percent) and 5-of-12 from three-point range (41.7 percent) while shooting 21-of-26 from the foul line (80.8 percent). The Bonnies held the advantage in rebounding over the Hawks, 35-26. Van Tatenhove and Jenkins combined for 62.8 percent of St. Bonaventure’s total points (49-of-78) with Van Tatenhove leading all scorers with 27 points and Jenkins adding 22.
The Hawks await next week's selection show to determine their postseason fate.