Redshirt junior guard Aarion Bradshaw (cover photo) was called “a little bulldog” by head coach Shauna Green thanks to her tough play. Courtesy of Keegan Gupta.
Sports Staff Writer
The Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team will tip-off the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals against Richmond Friday morning and will look to replicate their win over the Spiders Jan. 12.
In the only match-up of the season between the two teams in January, the Flyers (22-8, 15-1 A10) were led by redshirt junior guard Erin Whalen – 16 points and 4 rebounds – redshirt senior guard Shakeela Fowler – 11 points and 8 assists – and senior guard Jayla Scaife – 13 points and 3 steals off the bench – on the way to a 65-51 win over the Spiders (15-16, 7-9 A10).
The Spiders’ trio of leading scorers – senior forward Jaide Hinds-Clarke and sophomore guards Claire Holt and Kate Klimkiewicz – were held to just 24 points combined, compared to a season average of 32.5 points per game between the three of them. Defensively, the Flyers caused problems for the Spiders, who turned the ball over 24 times.
Though the Spiders jumped out to an 18-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Flyers roared back in the second to grab a 35-28 lead at halftime, and never looked back on the way to a 65-51 win.
Coached by A10 Coach of the Year Shauna Green, the Flyers will likely lean on the play of Scaife – named First Team All-Conference and selected for the All-Defensive Team Thursday night – and Whalen – Second Team All-Conference and All-Academic – and the defensive efforts of redshirt junior Araion Bradshaw – A10 All-Defensive Team – to defeat Richmond’s trio of Hinds-Clarke, Klimkiewicz and Holt.
The tenacious defensive effort from Bradshaw and Scaife is matched only by redshirt senior guard Shakeela Fowler, who had strong words for any team facing the Flyers on their home court.
“We got the best arena and the best fans in the country,” Fowler said after the team’s win over George Washington Feb. 20 to clinch a share of the A10 regular season championship. “And I stand on that. Bringing anybody into this house, it’s tough for them, I feel bad for anyone who has to come play us especially in the tournament that whoever wins gets to advance to the NCAA Tournament.”
Without a Top 25 ranking, the Flyers will likely have to win the A10 Tournament to hear their name called on Selection Monday, which takes place on March 16 and will reveal the field for the NCAA Tournament.
With a scheduled tip time of 11 a.m., the match-up will be the first of four quarterfinal games to be played at UD Arena on Friday.