By: Connor Hanson – Staff Writer
After five games in 10 days, Dayton’s women’s basketball team left the court Sunday night with a win over Louisville to bring their record to 4-1 in the 10-day span and 5-1 for the season. Dayton started its journey facing off against Vanderbilt and Wisconsin, winning by at least a 20-point margin in both games. Then came the Gulf Coast Showcase that saw the team travel to Florida and go up against the likes of Maine, besting them 58-37, Stanford, losing 74-66 and Louisville, which they beat 79-66.
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Dayton was in the middle of a three-game home stand as they faced off against Vanderbilt on Nov. 18. The Flyers had a tough time trying to open the lid to the basket, but eventually succeeded after three minutes as they closed the first quarter with a 16-10 advantage. The team would not look back as it led after each quarter, eventually beating the Commodores 81-56. The trio of senior guards Amber Deane and Kelley Austria, along with junior center Saicha Grant-Allen, made efficient work of their time on the court as they all put up double digits and shot over 70 percent from the field. Grant-Allen also pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with 11 points, giving her a double-double, her first of the season.
Dayton came out of the gates scorching hot against Wisconsin, hitting on four 3-pointers to start the game on a 12-0 run. The first half would be Dayton’s half, as it scored 28 and 29 points in both quarters, respectively, giving the Flyers a 57-35 lead heading into halftime. Dayton would cruise to an 87-64 victory.
Austria had herself a good first half as well, paving the way with 15 points as she shot 4-of-4 from the 3-point line. Austria also played well on the other side of the court; she had eight steals and helped force 26 Wisconsin turnovers, creating a lot of fast break opportunities for the Flyers. On another note, both teams racked up a combined total of 55 fouls during the game, something fans do not see every day.
The Flyers would move on to play Maine in the first round of the Gulf Coast Showcase in Naples, Florida. In what was a well-paced game, Dayton scored 58 points while holding Maine to a season-low 37. Dayton’s defense was lockdown in the first quarter, allowing zero field goals in the 10-minute span as Maine would get its only points from the charity stripe. Maine got after it in the second quarter, bringing the score to within four, but Dayton’s defense hunkered down as the Flyers went on a 10-0 run to end the half.
Deane took a hold of the game in the third quarter, scoring eight consecutive points, the majority of Dayton’s 14 points that quarter. The bench held its own in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points in the last five minutes to secure the 21 point victory for the Flyers. Number of the game, 21.3, the percentage Maine was held to from the field on the night.
Dayton went on to face Stanford, who beat Missouri State the day before. Stanford handed Dayton its only loss of the year to this point, downing the Flyers 74-66. The first quarter was a game of runs that saw Dayton get out to an early 9-2 lead but saw Stanford go on an 8-2 run themselves. Dayton would have the last laugh of the first quarter as they closed the quarter on an 8-0 run, leading 24-14 after one.
The second quarter was more of the same as the Cardinals put up 10 quick points. The Flyers once again had time to answer late in the quarter, scoring on four straight 3-pointers. Entering the third quarter leading 40-33, Dayton clung onto a 54-53 lead after three quarters following a late three from Deane. Dayton then saw its lead slip away for good as Stanford outscored the Flyers 21-12 in the final quarter.
Closing out its time in Florida, Dayton handed Louisville its fourth loss of the season. Dayton was down nine at the end of the first quarter, but showed some true team character as they climbed out of the deficit and tied the game at 28 before the end of the first half. Dayton proved to Louisville that its first quarter output was a fluke, outscoring Louisville in both the third and fourth quarters, with a season high 33 points in the final quarter. Deane played the bulk of the minutes for the team, scoring a career-high 29 points while shooting 11-of-11 from the free throw line. She also served as the team’s setup artist, providing a game-high six assists. Grant-Allen also did her part, leading the team in rebounds with eight, four offensive and four defensive.
Dayton will have two days off before hitting the road again as they play Toledo on Wednesday at 11 a.m., the first of two road games.