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Bonnies continue torrid start Sophomore Mitchell leads offensive charge

When the offense is clicking, everything seems to be going right.

And everything feels like it's going right for the St. Bonaventure women's basketball team these days. The Bonnies put four players in double figures Tuesday night to improve to 5-0 with a 76-57 win over Niagara in front of 343 at the Reilly Center.

The win tied the best start in Bona program history while the 76 points are the most scored by the team this year.

Once again, it was sophomore Dana Mitchell who paced the offense, netting 23 points with 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive end. The forward continues to put up impressive numbers, having hit double figures each game and seemingly willing possession of the ball at times while rebounding.

"Everything is going right now," Mitchell said. "Our chemistry is building and we just keep building on top of that. We're starting to come together."

That chemistry is most noticeable on the offensive end, where good movement without the ball and solid ballhandling has allowed the Bonnies to create an offense through Mitchell but not reliant upon her.

Shooting guard Katelyn Murray is a key and consistent outside threat. She finished with 17 points and hit 3 of 6 three-pointers.

Add to the mix 12 points from forward Erica Schiefen and 10 off the bench from freshman Armelia Horton and the flow of the offense becomes difficult to guard.

"Our offense is a team offense," Murray said. "If someone is driving, everyone else is relocating to get the ball. We always look inside to Dana first, but if she can't score she's in a position to kick it out. We have a very team-oriented offense and we're able to do that well."

"We haven't played a team yet that is so patient on offense," Niagara coach Kendra Faustin said. "They forced us to play a full 30 seconds on defense and that's something we haven't had to do before. We had some trouble staying down and staying focused."

Bona led the entire game, taking a 36-22 halftime lead on 50 percent shooting (14 of 28) from the floor.

But Niagara made a run in the second half, making it a 47-40 game with a jumper by Rachele Folino with 12:59 left to play.

St. Bonaventure got its spark back when Horton converted an offensive rebound and then completed a fast break off a Niagara turnover to again push the lead into double digits.

The Purple Eagles (2-1) again had one more run, cutting a 17-point lead down to 10 -- all on points from Sarah Wilson. Wilson finished the game with 18 points, but scored just two in the first half after picking up her second foul just three minutes in.

"We started fighting harder," Wilson said. "We dug deep and played with intensity. Sometimes we rushed our offense, but once we gathered ourselves we were able to find open layups."

As Niagara started to make runs, the Bonnies responded. Over the final six minutes in particular, Bona got hands in passing lanes to disrupt the Niagara offense and then in turn got extra cracks at the basket by crashing the offensive boards.

"These past couple of games, we've built some leads and people have come back on us," Murray said. "I feel as a team we're starting to learn what we need to do in those situations."


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