By: Katie Obear – Staff Writer
The Dayton women’s basketball team defeated Rhode Island 67-53 Sunday afternoon in an Atlantic 10 conference road game.
This game gave the Flyers their fourth win in a row, and improved their record to 12-9 overall and 5-5 in conference play. Dayton had defeated Davidson, La Salle, and Saint Joseph’s in the past weeks.
Rhode Island had won five of its last seven games, and the result pulled Dayton into a tie for seventh place in the conference standings with the Rams.
UD has faced some struggles this season with losses of key players like Kelley Austria and Amber Deane due to injury, but that hasn’t stopped them this season.
“We’re playing a lot of people who don’t have as much experience, so now every game becomes a real challenge and a life-and-death struggle, and the last three games we’ve played very well,” head coach Jim Jabir said last week prior to the Rhode Island game. “We’re getting better. We’ve found a new rhythm. When you lose people, people have to take on new roles and that’s difficult to do in stride, during the season.”
Freshman guard Lauren Cannatelli led all scorers with 21 points against Rhode Island, highlighted by 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. Sophomore guard Jenna Burdette added 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals in the winning effort.
Junior guard Christy Macioce led the Flyers during the team’s last home game, a 77-66 win over Davidson on Jan. 31, scoring a career-high 17 points. Joining Macioce in double figures for that game were junior center Saicha Grant-Allen, sophomore guard JaVonna Layfield, and Burdette.
“I think it took a couple games to get acclimated to those roles, the past couple games we hit our stride and come together more than ever this year,” Macioce said last week.
The team was off to a great start prior to the injuries, winning the first four games of the season, including a pair of double-digit home wins against power-conference teams Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.
“The goal is to try to win every game on our schedule and to continually improve,” Jabir said. “Every kid needs to get better and every time we step on the court is an opportunity to improve.”
The team only has a handful of games left in the conference season, with George Mason, George Washington, Massachusetts, Duquesne, Saint Louis and lastly Fordham. Their conference season ends on Feb. 28.
Every team remaining on the schedule, except for Massachusetts and George Mason, is sitting above the Flyers in the conference standings, giving UD more chances to climb up the ladder and secure a higher seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
“Our remaining schedule is very challenging,” Jabir said. “We have three of the best teams in our conference still on our schedule. We’ve played them all once and we have to play them again.”
The Flyers will take on George Mason Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at UD Arena.
Sports Editor Daniel Massa contributed to this story.
Photo: Sophomore guard Jenna Burdette had 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in UD’s 77-66 win over Davidson Jan. 31 at UD Arena. Chris Santucci/Multimedia Editor