By Breanne Guevara
On Friday, Nov. 11, the Niagara University women's basketball team opened up the season with a home opener against St. Bonaventure. Looking to beat the St. Bonaventure Bonnies, Niagara returned six players to its squad. Two of the players are Tiffany Corselli and Emily Granruth. Both players did exceptionally well last season. Corselli averaged 9.4 points per game and 3.0 rebounds, and Granruth averaged 2.8 points per game and 1.6 rebounds.
Victoria Rampado, Kaylee Stroemple and Jamie Sherburne make up the Purple Eagles' junior class, along with Kharysma Bryant, the Purple Eagles' only sophomore, who averaged 2.4 points per game and 2.8 rebounds.
Due to a shoulder injury, Rampado missed the majority of the 2015-2016 season, resulting in her having to redshirt. Rampado, the team captain, is more than ready to make her comeback into the 2016-17 season. She was only able to play in three games last year and, just in those games alone, she averaged 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds.
The Purple Eagles also added some new faces to their squad. Coming in as freshmen are Jai Moore, from Brooklyn; Maggie McIntyre from Mantua, New Jersey; Morgan Baughman from Carlisle, Pennsylvania; and Dagny Davidsdottir from Reykjavik, Iceland.
Also, the Purple Eagles added some transfers to the roster.
Carolyn Cosey, a junior, comes to Niagara from Manor College - a NJCAA Division II junior college. Cosey is a 5'5 guard.
"We are very excited in the new addition of Carolyn. She is a utility player and we can put her in any guard spot and she will prevail," head coach Jada Pearce said.
Cosey averaged 14.2 points per game and 3 rebounds.
Also transferring into the program is Paige Mosely, coming from Clemson University, and Diona Johnson, coming from Davidson College.
In coming from another Division I school, Mosely and Johnson have to redshirt this year and will be eligible to play in the 2017-18 season.
Adila Gathers will join the Purple Eagles in late December, because of her transfer from St. Francis (Pennsylvania) in the middle of the 2015-16 season.
St. Bonaventure Bonnies are in the Atlantic 10 conference. They ended last season with a 24-8 record overall, and in conference ended 12-4. The Bonnies have six returning to the roster from last season. One of the returners is Mariah Ruff, a junior who made the A10 All-conference Third Team. She is the leading scorer for the Bonnies, averaging 10.0 points per game last season.
During the course of the game, the Purple Eagles were dominating every aspect of offense and defense against their Atlantic 10 rival. Rampado led the on the score board by scoring 17 points. Purple Eagles' second captain Stroemple helped the team defensively with leading the stats in rebounds. In her college career debut, Morgan Baughman started off her the game with three 3-pointers, creating the lead for the Purple Eagles.
Niagara was in the lead for the whole game. Capitalizing on every scoring opportunity, and making remarkable rebounds, they definitely proved to the fans at home that they were ready to come out and fight.
The Purple Eagles came through and prevailed with a victory over the Bonnies, 65-43. This victory this will go down in history, as it is the first victory the Purple Eagles had over the Bonnies in 10 years. Also this was Niagara's first home opener win in two years.
Rampado got into foul trouble in the third quarter, so the head coach decided to sub Rampado out and put Bryant in. Covering the court for Rampado, Bryant held her own with scoring 4 points in the late third quarter. The closest the Bonnies came to beating the Purple Eagles was in the fourth quarter, with 6 minutes left, when they chopped down the lead to four. Kaylee came through with a rebound that caused a turnover for the Bonnies.
"We worked really hard, and we take pride in defeating the Bonnies," Rampado said. "Especially because we have not beaten them in so long. We are still developing our chemistry, but this is a great start, and I can't wait to see what the rest of the season brings."
Jai made her first collegiate appearance as well in the second quarter, making career launching steal and rebounds.
There was never any doubt that the Purple Eagles couldn't hold their on, and they did exactly what was expected of them.
If you want to keep up, you can follow Niagara Athletics on Twitter @NUPurpleEagles. If you are only interested in women's basketball, then you can follow @NiagaraWBB for all the updates. Also you can add the Purple Eagles on Facebook/PurpleEagles and on Instagram @NUPurpleEaxgles.