Flyers Outlast Saint Jospeh’s in Defensive Battle

Steve Miller – Sports Editor

Rebounding was the name of the game as the Dayton women’s basketball team stormed back in the second half to defeat Saint Joseph’s 64-59 in overtime, extending their win streak to six games. After scoring just 18 first-half points, the Flyers worked their way back on the glass, out-rebounding the Hawks 51-36 in the 45 minutes of action.

Senior center Saicha Grant-Allen finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds–a monstrous double-double.

Junior guard JaVonna Layfield tallied 12 points and 13 rebounds, and junior guard Jenna Burdette scored 18 points to lead the team.

The Flyers shot just 33-percent for the game, but kept the score tight with their second-chance points. Dayton tallied 20 offensive boards to SJU’s seven.

“I never preach about our shots going in or not…that’s something we can’t control,” head coach Shauna Green said in a postgame interview. “But we can control our defense, we can control our rebounding, we can control our effort, and all of that stuff. And that’s really what we talked about.”

After the Flyers were held to just eight points in the second quarter, their defense emerged out of halftime and held the Hawks to just eight in the third. Meanwhile, UD rattled off 18 third-quarter points to take the lead going into the final period of action.

Redshirt junior forward Alex Harris was an integral part of that comeback. She finished with eight points and and eight rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.

“I thought Alex [in] the second half was key. She made some big plays, some big rebounds,” Green said. “We’ve been saying that’s what we want our identity to be. We [have] to get stops, we [have] to get rebounds, and then our offense will always flow from that.”

“The second half, we just wanted to come out and be at our pace and take control of the game,” Harris said after the game. “We knew we could do that on the offensive rebounds and getting second chances. That’s how we win games.”

Still, after the third quarter, the Flyers had not made a three-point attempt. Dayton extended its lead to six points in the early part of the fourth quarter, but Saint Joseph’s fought back to tie the game at 46 with just over two minutes remaining.

With the game tied at 50 and 5.7 seconds left, the Flyers inbounded on their offensive end, but Grant-Allen had her layup attempt blocked and the game advanced to overtime.

Tied at 57 with the clock winding under 1:20, a Saint Joseph’s player crumbled with an injury as the Flyers set up their offense. Subsequently, Burdette drained a three from the corner given the extra space. It was UD’s only made three in 14 attempts all game.

“I just made sure I took my time on that one,” Burdette said after the game. “Unfortunately the girl got hurt on that play, but I knew she was hurt so I knew I had time. So I just took a breath and shot it.” Burdette was 1-for-5 from three.

Now winners of six straight and nine of the last 10, the Flyers have confidence moving forward in the tight Atlantic 10 despite their 3-6 to the year.

“We started out pretty sluggish and we really just had one big team meeting for like two hours one night,” Burdette said. “And we all got together and just turned it around.”

“It’s one day at a time,” Green said. “Because we go down to George Mason and they’re going to be ready beat us, and we just have to take care of our own selves. That’s really what we’re preaching.”

Photo by David King-Staff Photographer