University of Dayton women’s basketball players celebrate during the Flyers’ 83-46 exhibition win over IUP Friday night. Photo courtesy of Keegan Gupta, Flyer News.
Peter Burtnett | Sports Editor
The Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team got off to a strong start with an 83-46 win in an exhibition win over the IUP Crimson Hawks Friday night at UD Arena.
The visitors hung around for the first few minutes, and were tied at 4 with just under seven minutes left in the first quarter. But the Flyers, led by graduate guard Erin Whalen with seven points, went on an 11-2 run to inflate the lead to 15-6 at the first quarter media timeout with 4:11 remaining.
IUP called timeout less than two minutes later as the Flyers extended their lead to 23-6 (11-0 run) utilizing strong defense (six turnovers forced) and efficient offense (90.9 percent from the field).
By the end of the quarter, the Flyers led 29-8, and had 14 points off 10 turnovers forced.
The lead continued to balloon, led by sophomore guard Makira Cook, who had 11 points, two steals and one block at the second quarter media timeout with the Flyers leading 43-15 with 4:36 left.
With three minutes left in the quarter, freshmen Shannon Wheeler and Brynn Shoup-Hill were in the game. Before the game, Flyers head coach Shauna Green told the freshmen they had to “get those nerves.”
“You saw some glimpses of some things, and then you saw them make some freshman mistakes. So that’s what this game is good for. They need to go out there and get those game reps in when the lights are bright.”
Wheeler scored her first points on a corner three, and the Flyers went into halftime leading 49-17.
“I learned a lot today,” Wheeler said. “I made a couple mistakes, but I’m gonna get better from that. And I got more comfortable being out there, you know, this is my first time playing on a college court.”
At halftime, the Flyers’ 32-point lead had been achieved by dominating every aspect of the game. Overall defense (15 turnovers forced, four blocks and six steals) and shooting (68-32 advantage in field goal percentage, 45-13 on three-pointers) were the areas that stood out, but Whalen thought the defense could be improved.
“I think our big thing that we took away from this game is focusing again more defensively. We need to be able to defend the dribble war a little bit better and then just executing a little sharper. We need to get our post touches a little bit more, but overall, it was still a very solid game and (I’m) glad we were able to get a lot of different lineups involved.”
With such a large halftime lead, the Flyers were able to get minutes from 14 players and had 11 different scorers. Whalen led with 16 points, and graduate Jenna Giacone and Cook added 12 and 11, respectively. Junior forward Kyla Whitehead and redshirt junior Maliya Perry had 10 points each.
The final score ended up being 83-46, and provides an opportunity to build off of.
“We’ll keep building off it,” Whalen said. “I think our fouls [13 personal fouls] we’ll focus on a little bit, but it was good.”
Green said she was “really happy” with the team’s overall start.
“Our defensive effort, hold them to eight in the first (quarter). And then we were doing some of the things that we had really talked about with really attacking and getting downhill on them and getting to the rim for layups… We still got to tighten up a couple things defensively, especially against their offense where they spread you and set a ton of screens… And so we got to continue to work on finishing plays.”
Green also said getting experience for young players was also good.
“We just got a lot of people experience, and they need that game experience. We got some young kids that haven’t played a lot, or some freshmen haven’t played at all. So we know what we need to work on. We need to work on finishing, we need to work on not allowing their main shooter that we had prepared for all week to go off and go five-for-ten (from three).”
With some valuable learning experience for all involved, the Flyers now prepare for the first regular season game against Alabama A&M at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.