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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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End of the road

Graduate student Jaryn Garner celebrates a first-round win over Seton Hall (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

Women’s basketball falls in NIT second round

The St. Joe’s women’s basketball team saw their season come to an end in the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The Hawks, who finished the season 19-15 overall, fell to West Virginia University (23-11) by a margin of 28 points, 79-51.

After playing 34 games this season, the Hawks set a program record for the number of games played in a single season. Graduate student Amanda Fioravanti etched her name into the record books, setting the program record for games played in a single season with 34.

The Hawks’ berth into the WNIT earned them their second straight post-season appearance.

“Our body of work in the month of February and into the conference tournament secured a bid for us to play,” head coach Cindy Griffin said.

St. Joe’s made a name for themselves in the first round of the tournament where they faced Seton Hall University (16-16) of the Big East Conference on March 14. The Hawks ended the Pirates’ season with a 75-57 win. Senior Chelsea Woods led the effort with 20 points and 11 rebounds while graduate student Amanda Fioravanti also contributed with 19 points.

The Hawks led for all but three and a half minutes, taking control of the game after trailing in the beginning, 6-2.

Once the Hawks found their momentum, there was no turning back. They ended the first quarter up 20-14 and went into halftime with a 13-point margin, up 39-28. Seton Hall scored early in the second half to come within nine points, but St. Joe’s pushed back. The Hawks led by at least 13 for the remainder of the game, cruising to their first post-season win since 2014.

St. Joe’s faced  challenges against a physical West Virginia team of the Big 12 Conference on March 18. The Hawks were not able to lead at any point in the game and they eventually fell to the Mountaineers by 28.

“They [West Virginia] were a different beast,” Fioravanti said. “Their conference is very tough. They play in a conference with much bigger players than we see in the A-10.”

Woods led St. Joe’s in her final game as a senior with 15 points, and Monaghan added 11. According to Griffin, the score did not reflect the Hawks’ quality of play.

“We didn’t hang our heads or give up,” Griffin said. “We didn’t feel out of the game even though the score clearly said that it was out of reach. We needed a couple plays to go our way to make the transition but it just never happened for us.”

The physicality and defensive skill of the Mountaineers made it difficult for the Hawks to get anything going offensively.

“Defensively, they switch a lot of screens and disrupt your flow on offense, so it was difficult to get into offense,” Griffin said. “Once we got into it, we got some good looks; we just needed to make some better decisions and not turn the ball over.”

St. Joe’s found themselves down 10-0 from the tip off, but they were able to cut West Virginia’s lead to seven by the end of the first quarter. That would be the closest the Hawks would get, as the Mountaineers led by double digits with just under eight minutes left in the first half, and they would for the remainder of the game.

Four seniors and two graduate students saw their last game, leaving a lot of room for younger players to come in next season.

“It will be a rebuilding year,” Fioravanti said. “They’re losing a lot of the scoring they had this year. Players who didn’t play as much this year will have to step up and fill the roles of the graduating seniors.”

Woods, Fioravanti and Franklyn are among the team’s leading scorers that will be graduating in the spring. Junior Sarah Veilleux, Monaghan and junior Kristalyn Baisden are leading scorers who will be around next season as seniors.

Griffin said she will look back on the season as a success.

“This team really worked hard and they played together as a team,” Griffin said. “I think they had a lot of fun.”

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