PHILADELPHIA – Taking control early and hitting key free throws late, the Saint Joseph’s women’s basketball team downed UCLA, 64-60, Thursday afternoon at Hagan Arena. The Hawks never trailed and hit 13-of-16 free throws in the final three minutes to hold off a late Bruin run and improve to 7-4 on the year.
From the start, the Hawks took over the pace of the game, opening a 10-4 lead off a steal and layup by senior Kelly Cavallo (Hampton Bays, N.Y./Westhampton Beach) at 13:56.
The Bruins (5-6) tied the game at 10 all, and from there teams would exchange baskets with the Hawks holding a 22-20 lead just under seven minutes left in the half.
Saint Joseph’s turned it up on the defensive side though, holding UCLA to 1-of-7 from the filed, while causing six turnovers in the final minutes and used a 7-0 run to take a 29-22 edge into halftime.
Despite an opening basket by SJU to make it a 31-22 game, UCLA quickly gained momentum behind Markel Walker as the Bruins tied the game at 33-33 on a layup by Thea Lemberger at 14:22. Walker and Lemberger combined for eight of UCLA’s points during that stretch, as the Hawks hit just 1-of-8 from the floor over that time.
Saint Joseph’s absorbed the Bruins’ attack and countered with an 11-3 run of its own as a put-back layup by redshirt sophomore Ashley Robinson (Warminster, Pa./Archbishop Wood) gave the Hawks a 44-36 lead with 8:09 left.
The Bruins continued to chip away at the SJU lead, cutting the game to 46-43 at 5:39. However junior guard Ashley Prim (Ansonia, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral) and senior center Samira van Grinsven (Helmond, Netherland/Casper College) responded for the Hawks, combining for nine points as a pair of Prim free throws made it a 55-47 game with 2:02 to go.
From there, Saint Joseph’s converted 9-of-12 from the line to hold off the late UCLA run and earn the win.
For the game, Saint Joseph’s hit 22-of-56 from the floor (39.3percent), 3-of-13 from three-point range (23.1 percent) and 17-of-23 from the foul line (73.9 percent). Individually, Prim and van Grinsven added 12 points apiece, with senior Michelle Baker (Wilmington, Del/Brandywine) finishing with 10 points. Cavallo added a team-high eight rebound and two blocked shots.
At the other end, the Bruins shot 26-of-62 from the field (41.9 percent) and 8-of-11 from the foul line (72.7 percent), but were held to 0-of-10 from three-point range. Walker, who played only the second half, finished with a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds.
The Hawks return to action on December 29 when they host Boston College at 7p.m. The game will be televised on The Comcast Network.