Flyers women’s basketball lose 18-point first quarter lead, fall to Bowling Green in WNIT Consolation round

Redshirt senior guard Erin Whalen (#21) led the Flyers with 28 points — a career high — but Dayton fell 77-76 to Bowling Green in the consolation round of the WNIT on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Christian Cubacub, Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett
Sports Editor

The University of Dayton women’s basketball team lost an 18-point first quarter lead by halftime, and saw their season end with a 75-72 loss to Bowling Green in the WNIT consolation round Saturday.

After falling by 14 to Northern Iowa on Friday, the Flyers came out with aggression, opening up the game on a 12-0 run to take a big early lead and force a Falcons timeout with 6:09 left in the first quarter. 

Redshirt senior guard Erin Whalen shot 3-6 from the field and led the Flyers’ hot start with 9 points as the Flyers held the advantage at 24-17 at the end of the first quarter. Up by seven heading into the second quarter, the Flyers had led by as much as 18, but allowed the Falcons to get back into the game and finished the quarter shooting 41 percent from the field.

Whalen opened up the second quarter with a pair of threes, but the Falcons again recovered from a double-digit deficit and cut the Flyers’ lead to 37-31 at the second quarter media timeout with 4:40 left in the quarter.

The Flyers’ lead continued to slip away as the first half came to an end, and a buzzer-beating jumper by the Falcons sent the game into halftime tied at 39, after the Flyers had once led by as much as 18. Whalen led the team with 17 points, but the Flyers were up to nine turnovers and down to 38.7 percent from the field heading into the break.

The Falcons opened the second half on a 13-6 run to take a 52-45 lead, forcing a UD timeout with 5:56 left in the third quarter. 

Bowling Green continued to open up their lead, pushing it to 63-53 with 1:30 left in the third quarter, forcing Dayton to call timeout.

The Flyers were able to cut into the lead before the end of the quarter, and went into the fourth quarter down 64-57. Whalen still led the team with 19 points, but freshman center Tenin Magassa was now up to 14 points, along with 7 rebounds and 4 blocks. 

The Flyers then trimmed the lead down to five, but the Falcons didn’t let the game get closer than that, pushing the advantage back up to eight at 71-63 at the fourth quarter media timeout with 4:07 left in the game.

Whalen (finished with a game-high 28 points) made things interesting down the stretch with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to three with 25 seconds left, and Magassa stole the ball and was fouled within five seconds after.

Freshman guard Makira Cook, who scored 16 points in Friday’s loss to Northern Iowa, missed a three with 18 seconds left, but Flyers redshirt senior guard Araion Bradshaw sunk a layup with six seconds left.

Bowling Green knocked down both free throws, but then Cook hit a jumper just inside the three-point line that could have tied the game if she was behind the arc. The Falcons held onto a narrow 77-76 win, ending the Flyers’ season.

Finishing 14-5, the Flyers closed the season with a tough run of losses, falling on senior night to Saint Louis, then the A-10 semifinals to VCU, and then two losses in the WNIT.

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