An early season matchup of preseason conference favorites at UD Arena produced a game of back-and-forth runs which went in the home team’s favor.
The University of Dayton women’s basketball team overcame a nine-point deficit late in the second half to get a 79-76 win over the University of Toledo on Wednesday, Nov. 14. The Flyers were led by sophomore guard Andrea Hoover, who led all scorers with a career-high 22 points.
Dayton and Toledo both were picked as preseason favorites in their respective conferences. UD received seven out of 16 first place votes in being named the favorite in the Atlantic 10 Conference this season, while the Rockets garnered 16 of 30 votes in the Mid-American Conference.
“We had no quit in our kids,” head coach Jim Jabir said after the game. “It was ugly, and I think it’s going to be ugly for a long time because of our youth and inexperience. … We beat a really good team tonight. … Two really good teams in a row.”
Trailing 67-58 with 5:33 remaining, Dayton sophomore forward Ally Malott and junior forward Cassie Sant helped propel their team on a 12-2 run to take the lead.
Hoover combined with freshman guard Kelley Austria in the final 1:16 to make six free throws, finally defending a last-second three by UT redshirt senior guard Naama Shafir to seal the win.
“It was just one of those games where you had a feeling it was going to be ugly,” Hoover said, noting she thinks UT and UD have begun to build up a rivalry over the last few meetings. “We were very anxious to play them, and they were anxious to play us. We just worked our butts off, and it ended up on our side.”
Dayton struggled from the field to begin the second half, going 3-for-17 in the first 12:14 of the half, but hung around because of its ability to make foul shots and force turnovers.
“We don’t quit, and the defense tightened up, which has to get better,” Jabir said. “We have to improve our defense. But we’re scoring the ball pretty well. But I don’t want to rely on our scoring the whole year because that comes and goes. So we have to become a better defensive team.”
Toledo jumped out to an early 9-0 lead in the contest, but UD used a barrage of 3-point attempts to get back in the game. With 10 of its first 12 field goal attempts coming behind the 3-point line, Dayton connected on half of them to tie the game at 18 midway through the first half.
Jabir said his team took what UT gave them offensively, but the amount of 3-pointers attempted is not what he wants from his team.
“I don’t think it’s good for us to shoot 31 [3-pointers],” he said. “We have to have more balance.”
Dayton gained its first lead of the game with under two minutes left before halftime off a layup by junior center Cassie Sant, which was a part of a 9-0 UD run. Dayton entered the half with a 41-40 lead.
The halftime statistics were as close as the score, with both teams shooting over 50 percent from the field, 50 percent from three and combined to go 6-of-6 at the free throw line.
Freshman guard Amber Deane, who averaged over 20 points per game in her first two career contests at the Maggie Dixon Classic on Nov. 9 and 10, scored seven in her first home game while fouling out with 1:37 remaining.
Dayton continues its four-game homestand when it hosts Vanderbilt University on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. at UD Arena.