PHILADELPHIA - Backed by a balanced attack, the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team topped Rhode Island, 72-35, in front of 2,451 fans Wednesday afternoon at Hagan Arena. The Hawks, who were hosting their annual "Field Trip to Hawk Hill," were led by sophomore Ciara Andrews' 13 points as they improved to 12-3 overall and 2-1 in the Atlantic 10.
Leading wire to wire, Saint Joseph's dominated the majority of the first half as it opened a 30-7 edge on a jumper by freshman Jessica Pongonis at 6:12. The Hawks' defense flustered the Rams causing four turnovers and held them to just 3-of-17 from the field and 1-of-2 from the foul line to start the game.
Saint Joseph's, which had seven players score in the opening half, took a 38-15 lead into the half, and quickly pushed its advantage even further in the second. Up 47-21, the Hawks used an 8-2 run to open a 55-23 lead on a three-pointer by Ilze Gotfrida at 11:13.
The Hawks continued to hold Rhode Island at a distance until the final buzzer.
For the game, Saint Joseph's shot 48.1 percent overall (25-of-52), 54.5 percent from three-point range (6-of-11) and 88.9 percent from the foul line (16-of-18). The Hawks also finished with a 45-25 edge in rebounding, including a 20-2 edge in second-chance points.
Individually, Andrews went 9-of-9 from the foul line and added a pair of field goals for 13 points, while classmate Sarah Fairbanks added 12 points and two blocked shots. Senior Erin Shields was the third Hawk in double figures, scoring 12 points to go with a career-best eight rebounds and six assists. Ten off the 11 SJU players to play scored a basket on the day.
At the other end, Rhode Island shot just 25.5 percent overall (14-of-55), went 4-of-15 from three-point range (26.7 percent) and just 3-of-6 from the foul line. Kerry Wallack and Sydney Lewis each had eight points to lead Rhode Island. The Rams fall to 5-11 overall and 0-3 in the A-10 with the loss.
Saint Joseph's returns to action this Sunday at VCU. Game time is set for 5 p.m. and will be televised nationally on CBSSN.