PHILADELPHIA - For the first time in program history, the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team went undefeated in the month of January, capping it with a 57-50 win over Atlantic 10 newcomer this evening at Hagan Arena. Going 6-0 on the month, the Hawks improved to 14-5 overall and 5-0 in the Atlantic 10 with Wednesday's win.
Trailing 46-40 with under 12 minutes to play, the Saint Joseph's defense stymied the Bulldogs over the remaining time as the Hawks took control of the game. Using a 12-2 run over seven minutes, Saint Joseph's evaporated the deficit and opened a 52-48 lead on a pair of free throws by junior forward Ashley Robinson at 3:30.
Butler (13-8, 4-2 A-10), which was held to 1-of-11 and a turnover during that span, made it a 52-50 contest on a layup by Daress McClung at 1:07.
With pressure coming from the Bulldogs on the ensuing play, SJU senior guard Ashley Prim drove into the paint, only to be double teamed. As the defense swarmed, Prim shuffled a bounce pass to an open Robinson at the left block, feeding the reserve forward an easy layup as SJU took a 54-50 edge with 41 seconds to play.
On the ensuing play, Robinson again made a critical play for SJU, tipping a lob pass into the post, that allowed Prim to pick up the loose ball and shuffle a pass to junior guard Erin Shields. Fouled immediately, Shields hit both ends of a one-and-one and Robinson would follow with a free throw with :06 left to seal the victory for the Hawks.
In the first half, Butler opened an 11-point lead with less than five minutes to go in the half as the Hawks struggled from the floor on offense.
Trailing 32-20 with under five minutes to go in the period, a three-pointer by Shields kick started an 18-0 run that covered both halves. The Hawks, who cut the deficit to 32-30 by halftime despite shooting just 13-of-39 from the field, carried momentum into the second half as they tallied the first eight points to open a 38-32 lead on a three-point play by redshirt senior Chatilla van Grinsven.
The Bulldogs countered with a 10-0 run of their own to take a 42-38 advantage with over 13 minutes to play. From their, Saint Joseph's defense took over, holding Butler to just eight points over the remaining time.
For the game, the Hawks shot just 31.3 percent from the floor (20-of-64) and 18.2 percent from three-point range (2-of-11). Despite the poor shooting, the Hawks finished with a 45-37 edge in rebounding, including 18 on the offensive end, and hit 15-of-19 from the foul line, while Butler went just 3-of-4.
At the other end, Butler shot 37.9 percent from the field (22-of-58), but connected on just 28.6 percent (8-of-28) in the second half. The Bulldogs, who turned the ball over 14 times, connected on 3-of-15 from behind the arc.
Individually, van Grinsven posted a double-double to lead SJU with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Robinson added 11 points, five rebounds, two blocked shots, two steals and an assist. Prim led the Hawks with sis assists to go with eight points, six rebounds and three steals.
McClung led all players with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Saint Joseph's returns to action this Saturday at Rhode Island. Game time is set for 2 p.m.