Shayeann Day-Wilson (No. 30) finished 3-5 from three and provided sparks for the Blue Devils in a 70-56 win over the Flyers. Photo courtesy of Keegan Gupta, Flyer News.
Peter Burtnett | Sports Editor
In a high-profile game against the Duke Blue Devils, Dayton Flyers women’s basketball faltered late in a 70-56 loss Friday night at UD Arena.
“Obviously, you know, (I’m) disappointed that we did not get the win, but I thought that I’m really proud of their fight and how hard we competed,” Flyers head coach Shauna Green said. “And they got up, we’d make a run, then they made a run.”
In the opening quarter, the separation wasn’t huge between the two teams at the media timeout, as the Blue Devils held onto a 10-6 lead with 4:08 left in the quarter and had 11 rebounds (six offensive).
However, led by freshman guard Shayeann Day-Wilson with an individual 8-2 run, Duke pushed the lead up to ten and as high as 13 before the first quarter ended with the visitors leading 24-14 and Dayton up to six first-quarter turnovers.
The Flyers opened up the second quarter much more efficiently, especially on defense, and went on a quick 6-0 run in under a minute to cut the deficit to three. Going back to the start of the quarter, the Flyers outscored the Blue Devils 8-1 before the visitors called timeout leading 25-22 with 7:11 left in the quarter.
UD Arena erupted when sophomore guard Makira Cook drove in for a layup to give the Flyers a 29-27 lead and force a second timeout by the Blue Devils in under two minutes. Cook, with nine points, was supported by graduate guards Erin Whalen (nine points) and Jenna Giacone, who had a steal leading to a Whalen three to tie the game at 27.
However, the Flyers allowed the Blue Devils to go on a big run to close the first half. Going 3:57 without a made field goal, the Flyers gave up a 12-1 run over the final three-and-a-half minutes of the half and trailed 41-32 at the break. Allowing 11 offensive rebounds and turning the ball over ten times were key shortcomings for the Flyers in the first half.
After giving up a quick three, the Flyers buckled down on defense, holding Duke scoreless for 5:11 of game time and forcing four turnovers over the same amount of time. During that time, the Flyers went on a 10-0 run, led by Giacone, Cook and Whalen to cut the deficit to 44-42 with 4:37 left in the third quarter.
But after tying the game on a driving scoop layup by Giacone, the Flyers once again went cold from the field (2-7 field goals after media timeout, zero makes in the last four shots of the quarter).
They also racked up the personal fouls, finishing with eight in the quarter, which made up seven points in a 10-2 Duke run to close the third quarter. Going into the final ten minutes, the Blue Devils led 54-46.
“We had a couple careless turnovers, but they they were always just able to respond hit us, hit the big three, make the big play, and we didn’t respond quick enough at times,” Giacone said.
Dayton stuck around in the first half of the fourth quarter, but weren’t able to get closer than six points as they exchanged baskets with Duke, who led 61-52 at the media timeout with 4:57 left in the game.
However, a big missed opportunity for the Flyers was four Blue Devils turnovers over a 2:46 period. In 2:13 of that time, the Flyers went scoreless.
“We got to be able to execute that and produce points,” Green said. “That’s what it comes down to. So we’ll watch it (on film), we’ll clean it up, we’ll learn from it.”
The Flyers continued to struggle, and a seventh block and three-pointer a few possessions after saw Duke extend their lead to 66-52. Shooting 10-25 from three with 2:42 left and up by 14, the Blue Devils forced the Flyers to call a timeout.
Cook made a couple of quick buckets to cut the deficit to ten, but Duke promptly responded and pushed the lead up to 70-56 as Dayton called timeout with a minute left in the game. That would be the final score, but Green said it was “awesome” to see Cook, who finished with 18 points, step up when the “lights are bright.”
“(Duke’s) a really good team, a tall athletic team. And she just continued to do what she does. And I think that every game will give her more confidence. And for the future, yeah, it’s great because she is the future and some of her teammates are the future of this program. And, again, she’ll just continue to improve every single day. But these are good games for her to learn what it takes at the at the highest level.”