In their first home game since a 64-58 win over Davidson Jan. 14, sophomore forward Mariah Perez was a force for the Flyers, scoring 10 and grabbing 16 rebounds, 11 offensive, in a commanding 72-54 win. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.
In their first home game in nearly a month, the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team used a dominant third quarter to win 72-54 over Richmond on Friday at UD Arena.
The Spiders ran out of the gate shooting the ball well (4-5 on field goals in the first six minutes), but six turnovers were a big part of helping the Flyers gain a 12-11 lead at the first media timeout with 3:51 left in the first quarter.
After the Spiders tied the game at 14, the Flyers closed the first on a 7-2 run, led mostly by freshman center Tenin Magassa, who finished the quarter with 6 points as Dayton held a 21-16 lead.
Against the field goal percentages at the second quarter media timeout (Richmond 60 percent from the field, Dayton 48 percent), the Flyers went on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 30-22 with 4:41 left in the quarter.
By the end of the second quarter, that run had been stretched to 17-5, the field goal percentages were even at 52 percent, and the Flyers had a solid hold on the game with a 40-27 lead heading into halftime.
Senior guard Jenna Giacone continued her recent scoring run, leading the Flyers with 9 points, and eight other Flyers joined her on the scoresheet with at least 2 points.
While the Flyers defense suffocated the Spiders offense – whose first points on a three by junior guard Kate Klimkiewicz 4:55 into the third quarter – sophomore forward Mariah Perez put together a string of offensive rebounds in a sequence which led to points on a 9-0 Flyers run to open the second half.
First, Whalen knocked down a corner three. Perez got a steal on the defensive end, grabbed an offensive rebound on the Flyers possession, and put back the layup, being fouled in the process. She knocked down the free throw, and, after a Giacone steal on one end, was once again fouled after she made a put-back layup, as the Flyers stretched their lead to 48-27, forcing Richmond to call timeout with 6:42 left in the third quarter.
“That (sequence) was huge,” head coach Shauna Green said. “And that’s what we talked about at halftime.”
Green said the team has made the first five minutes out of halftime a priority to “win that first battle.”
“We just came out completely locked in, got the stop to start,” Green said. “Then (we) just executed offensively and we made plays, like Mariah made plays happen just because of work and getting on the boards and out-working people. That was how we talked about wanting to set the tone in the second half, and not allowing them any confidence to get back into the game and I’m really proud of how they executed that coming out of the locker room.”
Perez missed this and-1 opportunity, but was fouled again after bringing down another offensive board and split the pair of free throws to finish the 9-0 Dayton run and give the Flyers a comfortable lead.
If offensive rebounds were the theme on one end of the floor, the Flyers’ defense was the story on the other. After opening the third quarter without scoring for the first 4:55, the Spiders then went nearly three minutes without scoring, finishing the quarter with just eight points and going into the fourth quarter down 58-35.
The scoring woes for the Spiders quickly ended in the fourth quarter, as a pair of threes from Klimkiewicz and 3 of 4 free throws helped the Spiders cut the deficit to 62-44, forcing the Flyers to call timeout with 7:31 remaining in the game.
An easy layup for the Spiders and sloppy offensive play forced the Flyers to burn another timeout up by 16 with 6:38 remaining. Green brought back in her starters, who immediately plugged in to push the Flyers lead back to 21 in just over a minute.
The rest of the game simply needed to be played out, as the Flyers closed out a 72-54 win to improve to 11-1 and a perfect 10-0 in A10 play.
Whalen led the Flyers with 13 points, but Perez’s efforts of 10 points and 16 rebounds (11 offensive) helped lead the Flyers to a comfortable home win over the Spiders.
“I think she’s just been continuing to learn every game and she stepped up (tonight),” Green said. “This is what I expect from her and what I know she is capable of doing. I’m glad that she put it into action tonight.”
Green cited her impressive stat line, “4-7 from the field, 11 offensive rebounds, 16 total, 4 assists, that’s just a great line from her.”
“If she can continue to play at that level, and you have (Magassa), those two are a tough duo down there,” Green said. “So I’m just really, really proud of her, and that is exactly what we need from her and that’s you know that’s what we know she’s capable of doing, but it was a great night, great overall performance.”
Next, the Flyers host VCU (9-8, 7-3 A10) on Sunday at noon.