KINGSTON, R.I. - Shooting 55.4 percent from the field, the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team downed Rhode Island, 78-51, Saturday afternoon at the Ryan Center. Led by redshirt senior forward Chatilla van Grinsven's 18 points and nine rebounds, the Hawks won their seventh straight, improving to 15-5 overall and 6-0 in the Atlantic 10 for the first time since 2003-04.
Taking control from start, the Hawks ran out to a 13-2 edge. Converting on six of its first seven possessions, SJU took a double-digit lead on a pair of free throws by van Grinsven just 3:31 into the game.
Hitting 14-of-28 from the floor Saint Joseph's opened up 21-point lead in the opening period before taking a 38-21 lead into halftime on a jumper at the buzzer by senior Mireia Vila. The Hawks, who also knocked down 8-of-9 from the foul line in the half, held Rhode Island to just 26.7 percent shooting (8-of-30) over the opening 20 minutes.
In the second half, the Hawks continued to hold the Rams at a distance. Converting 60.7 percent of its shots (17-of-28), Saint Joseph's outscored Rhode Island 40-30 in the stanza, allowing the Rams to get no closer than 14 points, while opening up a 32-point advantage in the final minutes.
For the game, the Hawks hit 31-of-56 from the field, including 4-of-15 from behind the arc (26.7 percent) and 12-of-14 from the foul line (85.7 percent).
At the other end, Rhode Island was held to 32.1 percent shooting(18-of-56), despite being led by a game-high 21 points from Tayra Melendez.
The Hawks return to action Wednesday at VCU. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Game Notes: Shields, Cloud and Vila each had four assists...Vila and redshirt junior Kelsey Berger had seven points apiece in starting roles...Freshman Sarah Fairbanks had a career-high seven points and added five boards and two blocked shots...Junior Ashley Robinson added seven points and five rebounds...Junior Ilze Gotfrida finished with four points and three assists...Junior Kasei Parker added four points...Senior Shelby Smith finished with two points and two assists...Freshman Ciara Andrews played four minutes.