By Jeremy Castro, Staff Writer
The start to this season has had its ups and downs for the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team.
As of Nov. 28, its record stands at 4-4. The team won the season opener at home against Niagara University, but lost the next two against Siena College and Canisius College. The Bonnies proceeded to go on a three-game unbeaten run, with wins coming against Eastern Michigan and the defending Patriot League champions, Bucknell, before falling to Navy at the Navy Classic tournament by a final score of 86-48.
Head coach Jesse Fleming talked about how he felt the team has played over this recent stretch.
“I think it has been a decent start,” Fleming said. “I think the high point has been Bucknell. I thought we, especially defensively, played really well against Bucknell.”
Fleming does acknowledge some disappointment with how the team played at the Navy Classic this past weekend.
“I thought we had a shaky weekend,” Fleming said. “I thought we were making way more defensive mistakes than we have been making. We weren’t moving the ball and executing our offense at the level we have been. I think we are in a little correction phase where we kind of have to get back to basics.”
However, Fleming does put this start into some context considering preseason expectations.
“If you had asked me at the start of the year, I would be happy with this start,” Fleming said. “Getting a win on the road, beating some teams we lost you last year.”
Over this stretch, junior guard Mckenna Maycock has taken a big step on both sides of the court. In the Bonnies’ last five games, Maycock is averaging nearly 20 points per game and 8 rebounds per game. She has broken her career high in scoring twice during this time, once against Bucknell with 21 points and then in the next game against Maryland, Baltimore County with 23 points.
Maycock started the season a little slowly, but discussed how the team’s offense has opened up and allowed her to put in some good performances.
“I would just say it is an overall team [effort],” Maycock said. “Our offense has executed all together and just way better these last four games so that helped me individually score a little more. It is all just coming together – getting great passes, screens. Everything has helped me.”
Maycock’s success has not come as a shock to Fleming.
“We saw it all spring, all summer, all fall with her,” Fleming said. “She was consistently one of our best offensive players in workouts, in pickup and stuff like that. She has always been an elite athlete and her has caught up to that athleticism. She has an unbelievable motor, she plays hard, can play all 40 minutes and she is a great kid, so I feel great for her that all of her hard work has paid off and she is getting some returns on that effort.”
Senior point guard Mariah Ruff also talked about Maycock’s recent success.
“It makes it [her job as point guard] a whole lot easier,” Ruff said. “[Teams] do not have to focus so much on me, so I can get my teammates involved.”
Ruff also had a historic week, becoming only the 22nd member of the 1000-point club in women’s program history.
“It is a great honor,” Ruff said. “Only 22 kids have done that in the program. It is a great honor because I am up there with the likes of Katie Healy and Jess Jenkins and [others] that have gotten 1000 points, so it is a huge honor, and I could not have done it without my teammates.”
Ruff is currently averaging 10.3 points per game on her career, however, her impact goes well beyond that.
“She is such a great player,” Maycock said. “She sets us up in great positions to score and is just a great leader for us. I think we are all so lucky and thankful to have her as a teammate and we are all so happy for her.”
After Wednesday’s home loss against the University of Delaware 53-52, the team prepares to take on the University of Toledo on Dec. 4, Penn State on Dec. 9 and the University at Buffalo on Dec. 15.
“I think we play best at home, so I think we should get good momentum going,” Ruff said. “After our loss over the weekend, the big four-game home stand will be great for us. I think we should just get it rolling and see what we can do at home, get back together and get back on the right page.”