Flyers women’s basketball comeback effort narrowly falls short in 60-57 loss at Florida

Sophomore guard Makira Cook (white jersey, pictured Nov. 5 against IUP) led the Flyers with 20 points in a 60-57 loss against the Florida Gators. Photo courtesy of Keegan Gupta, Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett | Sports Editor

The Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team held the Florida Gators scoreless for eight minutes in the fourth quarter, but their comeback effort came up just short in a 60-57 loss on the road in Gainesville, Fla., on Wednesday.

In the first quarter, the Flyers shot 7-15 from the field, knocking down two of three 3-pointers to take a 19-17 lead.

But in the second quarter, the Gators got 13 points from the bench and held the Flyers to just 11 as they won the quarter by a dozen and took a 40-30 lead into halftime.

At the break, Dayton was still a solid 46.2 percent from the field, just four percent behind Florida. Both teams were also even on turnovers (7) and points off turnovers (10), with the only discrepancy being bench points (13-0) and second chance points (10-3) as the hosts dominated the boards (22-11, 11-4 offensive).

Sophomore guard Makira Cook, senior forward Kyla Whitehead and graduate guard Jenna Giacone provided nearly the entirety of the Flyers offense in the first half as they combined for 28 points.

Both defenses played tough to begin the third quarter, but the Flyers made three of five field goals and forced a couple of turnovers to go on a 6-2 run and trim the deficit to six with 6:39 left in the quarter.

The Gators then answered with an 8-2 run, during which Flyers graduate guard Araion Bradshaw had to briefly come out of the game and have fellow graduate guard Erin Whalen shoot a pair of free throws. Florida had pushed ahead 50-38 when Dayton called timeout with 3:15 left in the third quarter.

The offenses struggled to close the quarter, and the Gators led 54-44 heading into the fourth.

Dayton started the quarter strong with a 6-0 run to trim the deficit to four, where the score held when Florida called timeout with 6:42 left.

Bradshaw knocked down a three to cut the deficit to one, and the Gators’ scoreless streak in the fourth quarter reached six minutes. Cook then made a driving layup to give the Flyers a 55-54 lead with 3:31 left in the game.

The Gators finally scored in the quarter on a layup with 1:49 left in the game to take a 56-55 lead. Bradshaw turned the ball over and the Gators knocked down a pair of free throws to take a three-point lead with 80 seconds left.

Cook then made a layup to trim the deficit to one, but the Gators answered with a jumper to take a 60-57 lead with 28.3 seconds left.

After a timeout, the Flyers had a chance to tie the game with 22.9 seconds left. Cook missed a layup and Whalen missed a three, and a loose ball after Whalen’s miss was fought for by both teams and called a jump ball and possession was given to the Gators with the clock down to 3.5 seconds. The Gators in-bounded the ball and outran Flyers defenders to waste the clock and come away with a narrow 60-57 win.

Dayton falls to 6-3 with the loss, while Florida improves to 8-3. Next up for the Flyers is a 12-day break before the West Palm Beach Invitational, with games against High Point (Dec. 20) and Clemson (Dec. 21).

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