By: Kyle Janowicz – Staff Writer
After losing their first Atlantic 10 Conference competition of the season, the University of Dayton women’s basketball team returned home Saturday, Feb. 1, to defeat George Mason University 103-81.
The win was also head coach Jim Jabir’s 200th victory as head coach in Dayton, with a winning percentage of .606.
A 75-63 loss to Saint Joseph’s University Jan. 26 in Philadelpahi, Pa., ended Dayton’s 10-game winning streak heading into the contest. With sophomore guard Amber Deane and junior guard Kelley Austria both still out for Saturday’s game due to injury, the Flyers struggled out of the gate, but were able to extend their home winning streak to nine games.
The Flyers’ second highest scoring game of the season did not come easily. While Dayton jumped to an early 10-2 lead in the first few minutes of play from consecutive 3-pointers by freshman guard Celeste Edwards, George Mason quickly fought its way back into the game and tied it at 19-19 close to the halfway point of the half.
GMU would even grab on its next basket, a 3-pointer by redshirt senior forward Janaa Pickard.
The Flyers quickly answered, gaining their largest lead of the game at 56-42 on a steal and layup by Edwards, who had a blistering shooting performance, draining five of Dayton’s 10 first half 3-point buckets, and scoring all 17 of her points in the half.
Overall, the Flyers shot 60 percent from both behind and inside the arc, while shooting 87.5 percent from the free throw line in the half.
While Dayton established its dominance on the offensive end early, they still allowed 42 points in a half and turned the ball over 11 times.
The Flyers did not maintain their pace in the second half as they did from their first half shooting, going 41 percent from the field. However, they still managed to maintain a steady lead the rest of the game from a well-balanced offensive attack.
Six Flyers managed to reach double figures, led by junior forward Ally Malott with 25 points. Junior guard Andrea Hoover added 16 points. Seven of Dayton’s 10 players who saw action scored a basket as well.
Dayton also received strong play from its reserves, including junior guard Tiffany Johnson who filled in at the point position as a starter for Deane.
Johnson said the team is adjusting well to the loss of their teammates.
“I think offensively and defensively, we had to get more involved and on offense we had to be more patient,” she said.
GMU redshirt sophomore guard Taylor Brown, the leading scorer in the A-10 coming into the contest, scored 30 points and had a team-high nine rebounds.
Although the victory earned head coach Jim Jabir his 200th win, he said the feeling was just like any other game and that he also wished his team would have played a bit better.
“I wanted to play better defense,” he said. “We really talked about starting out and really taking them out of their offense, which we didn’t do well actually, but when you’re making shots like that it kind of eases the pain a little.
But it’s fool’s gold and you can’t rely on that because you’re not always going to shoot it like that.”
Dayton hosted Virginia Commonwealth University Wednesday, Feb. 5, at UD Arena. The team travels for a road game next against Duquesne University, Saturday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m., at the A.J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.