Freshman center Saicha Grant-Allen (55) goes up for a shot against George Washington University, Thursday, Jan. 16, at UD Arena. The University of Dayton women’s basketball team lost its 10-game winning streak at Saint Joseph’s University, Sunday, Jan. 26, in Philadelphia. San Kumar/Staff Photographer
By: Chris Bendel – Asst. Sports Editor
The University of Dayton women’s basketball team lost its first Atlantic 10 Conference game of the season as Saint Joseph’s University shattered the Flyers 10-game winning streak 75-63 Sunday, Jan. 26.
With the win, St. Joe’s (16-4, 5-2) also halted Dayton’s (12-5, 5-1) 23-game regular season conference winning streak, which spanned three seasons and almost two calendar years.
Dayton played without two starting guards, sophomore Amber Deane and junior Kelley Austria. Combined, Austria and Deane average almost 27 points per game and bear most of the ball handling responsibilities for head coach Jim Jabir.
“Everybody is a little out of sync with the new lineup,” Jabir said. “That’s to be expected.”
Team doctors held Deane out of the game with concussion-like symptoms. According to Jabir, her return is predicated on the team doctor’s approval and, as of Tuesday, Jan. 28, no time table exists.
Over fears of an ACL tear, Austria did not play and will undergo an MRI on Thursday, Jan. 30.
In place of Austria and Deane, freshman guard Celeste Edwards and junior guard Tiffany Johnson cracked the starting lineup.
In a return to Philadelphia, Pa., where Johnson played in high school for Prep Charter, she scored 14 points in 37 minutes for the Flyers.
Jabir said both Johnson and Edwards filled in nicely for the Flyers, who only shot 33 percent from the field for the game.
“A lot of the people on our bench had to step up, they were in uncomfortable roles,” junior guard Andrea Hoover said.
“They did a great job. They came in and really were attacking.”
Hoover finished with a team-high 16 points.
Jabir noted the injuries shortened his bench and created a ripple effect up and down the lineup, putting players in unfamiliar positions and roles.
“All of a sudden [junior forward] Ally Malott’s playing some wing, something she hasn’t done all year,” Jabir said. “It just gets people out of sync a little bit.”
Dayton’s bench only accounted for six of the team’s total offensive output.
The first half was composed of scoring runs and droughts on both sides, and Dayton finished the half leading 32-29.
In a half where Dayton missed a handful of “chippies,” according to Jabir, or easy lay-ins, and shot 34.1 percent, St. Joe’s shot an equally poor 31.4 percent and could not convert on open looks either. While scoring relative low for UD’s standards, Dayton seemed to control the pace of the game in the first.
“We fought really hard and there was a long period of time where we commanded the game,” Jabir said. “But our inexperience showed up in some pretty tough places.”
The inexperience showed up the in the decisive second half.
St. Joe’s outscored UD 46-31 and held the Flyers to a 33.3 field goal percentage while shooting an improved 50 percent.
Thirteen fouls, coupled with 11 turnovers doomed the Flyers as St. Joe’s took control of the game to seal the win.
For a team that relies on a certain pace to run their offense, the stoppages of play stemming from turnovers stymied UD in the second half.
“There were a lot of fouls committed, so it was kind of hard for us to get in a rhythm,” Hoover said. “We need to be more conscious of that, really keeping our hands off of people.”
Even with the loss, Jabir said he is proud of the team. After all, it was a hectic 12 hours leading into the game.
Due to inclement weather, the team’s flight was delayed Saturday, Jan. 25, forcing the Flyers to fly out around 7 a.m. on game day, rush to eat, practice and mentally prepare all in a condensed span of time.
Dayton will return to conference play and UD Arena against George Mason University Saturday, Feb. 1, with tip-off set for 6 p.m.