By: Steve Miller – Asst. Sports Editor
It’s déjà vu all over again.
Yogi Berra’s famous words perfectly reflected the tone as Dayton’s women’s basketball team fell to George Washington University for the third time this season in Sunday’s gritty, physical Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship.
The conference tournament was held from March 5-8 at the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, VA.
After finishing the regular season second in the A-10, UD received a first-round bye and played Saint Joseph’s University in the quarterfinals matchup Friday. Junior guard Amber Deane tallied 22 points and eight rebounds in the Flyers 80-61 win over the Hawks.
Seniors Andrea Hoover and Ally Malott and junior Jodie Cornelie-Sigmundova also recorded double-digit points for the Flyers.
On Saturday, UD defeated Duquesne University 74-60 in the A-10 semifinal matchup. Dayton junior Kelly Austria scored 20 points and added four steals in the win.
Dayton advanced to the A-10 final for the second straight season, this time pitted against George Washington, ranked 21st in the nation.
Last season UD fell to Fordham University in the championship game, marking two years in a row of similar fate.
The Flyers got off to a shaky start in the opening as the Colonials dominated the boards. George Washington out-rebounded Dayton 29-17 in the first half.
Jonquel Jones, the A-10 Conference Player of the Year, exited the game in the first half after collecting two fouls early on. At that point, UD applied heavy defensive pressure, forcing 15 turnovers and capitalizing in transition.
Ally Malott shot with a particularly hot hand, hitting 12 first half points, including two 3-point field goals.
Amber Deane scored her 1,000th career point with a first-half layup, becoming the 23rd player in UD history to hit the mark.
Dayton led at the half 37-29.
Jones returned for the Colonials in the second half and led her team on a 11-2 run to begin the period. She hit a trio of 3-point buckets in the first 10 minutes of the half.
George Washington took the lead 40-39 within the first four minutes of the second half, and soon began to pull away.
Jones kept on the defensive pressure in the key, helping to limit Dayton to 22 points in the paint all game.
George Washington ended the game on a 26-12 run, and won 75-62.
Senior Andrea Hoover was the lone bright spot for the Flyers in the second half. She finished the game with 18 points including two 3-pointers.
Jones finished the contest with 21 points to lead all scorers.
This was George Washington’s first A-10 Championship since 2003, and their third victory over Dayton this season. The Flyers were unbeaten against every other A-10 opponent.
Both the Flyers and Colonials are projected to represent the Atlantic 10 in the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament.
The selection show will take place Monday at 7 p.m.