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St. Bonaventure’s women’s basketball team clinches top-four seed

Katie Healy scored 22 points and reached another career milestone Saturday in St. Bonaventure’s 70-63 Atlantic 10 women’s basketball victory over La Salle at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia.

The senior from Lancaster had six rebounds in the game to surpass 800 for her career. With 802 now, she needs 55 more to break the St. Bonaventure record of 856 by Missy Ward.

More important, the Bonnies (22-5, 11-3 A-10) moved within a half-game of first-place in the A-10. Duquesne (11-2 A-10) will be home against Davidson on Sunday. Bona will face the Dukes next Sunday at the Reilly Center. First, though, the Bonnies have a Wednesday game at Fordham.

No matter what happens this week, the Bonnies have wrapped up a top-four seed for the conference tournament and a bye through to the quarterfinals.

Healy connected on 8-of-15 shot attempts, finishing with six rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes to power the win.

Sophomore Mariah Ruff knocked down big shots in the waning minutes, closing with 13 points and four assists.

The Bonnies seemingly seized control at the start of the fourth quarter with a 53-41 lead. La Salle (5-22, 2-12 A-10) would not go away quietly on its Senior Day, however, Back-to-back threes by Adreana Miller of the Explorers made it 66-63 with 1:24 left. Finally two free throws by Bona senior Nyla Rueter made it 68-63 and put away the Explorers.

Meanwhile at the Gallagher Center, the Niagara men, playing their final home game, cut an 18-point second-half deficit to five with under six minutes to play, but Fairfield maintained the lead and gained a 71-59 victory.

A 13-2 run by the visiting Stags (17-11, 11-7 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) made it 48-30 after 6:04 had been played in the second half. Niagara used a 12-0 run, with seven points by Cameron Fowler, over the next three minutes to cut the Stags’ lead to 57-52. However, the Purple Eagles went scoreless in the following two minutes.

“We have to play better at the beginning of the game,” Niagara coach Chris Casey said.

Matt Scott led Niagara with 13 points and nine rebounds, Fowler added 12 points and seven rebounds, and Marvin Prochet and Emile Blackman each chipped in 12 points. A pair of Blackman free throws at the 5:40 mark of the first half gave him 1,000 career points.

Before the game, Niagara honored the lone senior on the team, Thomas Fleming, who made his first career start.

Sunday’s Big 4 games

It will be Senior Day for both the Canisius and Niagara women’s teams Sunday.

Canisius (12-14, 7-10 MAAC) will honor seniors Crystal Porter, Tiahana Mills and Jasmine Mungo before Sunday’s game with Monmouth (10-16, 8-9 MAAC) at the Koessler Athletic Center. The Griffs will be looking for their fourth straight victory.

Niagara (6-20, 4-13 MAAC) will close its home schedule against Manhattan (12-13, 9-7 MAAC) and honor seniors Sam Lapczynski and Taylor McKay at pregame ceremonies in the Gallagher Center.