Guru's Overniter: St. Joseph's and Rider Advance in A-10 and MAAC Tourneys
A dream that would have been preposterous two months ago is two wins away from reality for the Saint Joseph’s women’s basketball team.
The Hawks made it 3-0 over La Salle this season Friday night by defeating the Explorers 66-48 in an Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinal game that propelled them into a semifinal Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. In the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Va.
The game will be nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network.
And by the time Sunday’s title game is completely Saint Joseph’s could end up very high with a little help from the Hawks’ friendly league rivals.
Specifically, Duquesne, which shocked George Washington 62-58 in a semifinal game putting a less arduous opponent on Saint Joseph’s path in the next round.
Just two months ago, Saint Joseph’s was languishing at 2-9 scoffed up with injuries and blowing decent leads.
But now the Hawks sit with a winning record at 17-13 completing a turnaround in-season run to date at 15-4, good enough at the very least to have caught the attention of the WNIT, which will likely take Saint Joseph’s into its field if coach Cindy Griffin’s team doesn’t win the A-10 automatic bid to the NCAAs.
The other semifinal will feature Dayton, which had the top seed in a tie-breaker, and Saint Louis, the preseason favorite by the conference coaches.
Hope is certainly something to cling to for every Saint Joseph’s fan when consider that the Hawks lost a tough one at Dayton 64-59 in overtime, edged Duquesne 60-58 at Hagan Arena on Hawk Hill and won at Saint Louis 66-63.
The win at Saint Louis enabled Griffin’s group to bump up to the third seed in a tiebreaker.
As for the details in the Philly battle in Virginia, Chelsea Woods, who dominated the local summer league in the offseason, had a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds while Sarah Veilleux had 12 points and four rebounds.
Woods and Veilleux were sidelined with injuries when the Hawks dropped two early A-10 games at Richmond and at George Washington.
Amanda Fioravanti had 10 points and Adashai Franklyn grabbed 10 rebounds.
Amy Griffin still got her share of points for La Salle (17-13) with 18 but the Explorers were held to 25.5 percent from the field.
There is a chance La Salle, a sixth seed, could still land in either the WNIT or the WBI tourney.
Meanwhile in the big upset, Amadea Szamosi had an and-1 play that gave Duquesne, seeded seventh, the secure points with 20 seconds left for the victory.
The Colonials had won the previous two A-10 titles under former coach Jonathan Tsipis, who moved on to Wisconsin and succeeded by Hartford coach and former UConn star Jennifer Rizzotti.
Duquesne (17-14) trailed the Colonials by nine points with 6 minutes, 26 seconds left in the game.
Conor Richardson had a career-high 15 rebounds and nailed two free throws within the final 19 seconds to keep Duquesne alive in the tourney.
Szamosi had a game-high 17 points while Julijana Vojinovic had 13 and Chassidy Omogrosso scored `9 for Duquesne.
Ciara Washington had 12 points for George Washington (20-9), which remained on Charlie Crème’s NCAA bracketology forecast board, but with a thin margin of stability.
In the other two A-10 games, Dayton ousted VCU 77-61 as Jenna Burdette scored 13 of her game-high 23 points in the third period for the Flyers (20-9).
GG Goodhope had 12 points for VCU (16-15).
Saint Louis won its quarterfinal game 68-58 over fifth-seeded Fordham (21-11), which had split its two games with Saint Joseph’s in the league.
Sadie Steipanovitch, a cousin of Penn’s Sydney Stipanovich, had 27 points and became the Billikens’ all-time scorer in the contest. She now had 1,547 career points.
Jackie Kempf, the A-10 player of the year, had 18 points for Saint Louis (25-7).
Dayton and Saint Louis will open the semifinals at 11 a.m.
Mary Goulding had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Fordham.
Rider Rolls Past Monmouth To The MAAC Semifinals
First the Broncs were honored for their landmark season with Lynn Milligan earning coach of the year honors and Robin Perkins picking up the player of the year award.
Then Rider, with the No. 2 seed, showing no ill effects from Sunday’s season-ending loss at Fairfield, whipped seventh seeded Monmouth 67-51 in a MAAC quarterfinal game at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.
Julia Duggan had her fourth straight double double for the Broncs (23-7) with 19 points and 15 rebounds to help Rider snap a three-game losing streak in the conference tourney.
The Broncs, who get a bye Saturday, will be in the MAAC semifinals for the first time since 2014.
Monmouth ended its season at 15-16.
The win likely gained Rider a spot in the WNIT, which would be a first-ever postseason appearance, though while still alive there’s still the focus of winning the conference tourney and automatic bid to the NCAA field.
But in the semifinals, the Broncs could quickly see Fairfield again after the Stags swept both games, though each score was extremely narrow in its differential.
However, Fairfield, a third seed, must get past sixth-seeded Marist, which used to dominate the league but is in a rebuilding mode and the Red Foxes were swept by Rider during the season.
“We had a good defensive effort today,” Milligan said. “I thought we did a good job taking away their threes and the overall defensive effort of this team from top to bottom was as good as it gets tonight.”
Kamilia Hoskova and Lexi Possett each scored 14 points for the winners.
No Monmouth player scored in double figures.
“We are big believers that are defenses create our offense,” Milligan said. “We get a lot of opportunities, easy shots and create mismatches if we play good defense. Everybody on our team knows that defense comes first and with good defense comes easier and better offense.”
Temple Readies to Make a Run in The American
The Owls enjoyed a day of relaxation and celebration up here at the American Athletic Conference Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
Coach Tonya Cardoza shared the American coaching award with UConn legend Geno Auriemma, her former boss, while several Owls won individual awards.
Temple is likely NCAA bound for the first time since 2011 with a through-the-roof RPI of 18 through Friday’s games.
As the No. 2 seed, the Owls (23-6), ranked 25th in the Association Press media poll, got a bye and will take the floor at 6 p.m. Friday night playing Houston, the 10th seed, which ousted seventh-seeded Cincinnati 74-61 as Angela Harris had 17 points.
Ana Owens had a game-high 20 points for the Bearcats (16-13).
Jasmyne Harris added 16 points for the Cougars (11-18).
The game will air on ESPN3.
No. 9 Tulsa and No. 8 Memphis got the day’s opening round of three games started with Tulsa gaining a 60-55 triumph.
Ashley Hughes had 12 points for Tulsa (9-20) while Brea Elmore had 23 for the Tigers (14-15).
The grand prize for Tulsa in its minor upset off the seed numbers is getting to play UConn, the top seed and top team in the country, whose win streak consecutive total is now at 105.
“We look forward to the competition,” said Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman. “Not everybody gets to play a team of that level.”
Tulsa will play UConn at 2 p.m. on ESPN3.
In the third game sixth seeded SMU defeated 11th seeded East Carolina 60-54 as Alicia Froling had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Mustangs (17-13) while Kristen Gaffney had team highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Pirates (1-19).
SMU will play third-seeded South Florida Saturday night at 8 p.m. On ESPN3. The Bulls, who had been ranked during the season, had a bye.
The Temple winner and South Florida winner play in one of the semifinal games Sunday.
Saturday’s action gets started with fourth-seeded UCF meeting fifth-seeded Tulane, which recently gave UConn a scare in their game in New Orleans. Each of the seeds had byes Friday.
And that’s the wrap.