Magassa’s career night leads Flyers to 64-58 win over Davidson

Tenin Magassa’s (#34) presence in the post was key to Thursday night’s 64-58 win for the Flyers at UD Arena. Photo courtesy of Christian Cubacub, Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett
Sports Editor

A career night by freshman center Tenin Magassa led the Flyers women’s basketball team to a 5-0 record in A10 play with a 64-58 win over Davidson Thursday night at UD Arena.

“I’m just really proud of our great team win against a really good Davidson team,” head coach Shauna Green said postgame. “You know Davidson was going to come in, they were really hungry for a win, and they never stopped. I thought our start was slow and obviously our finish was not what we wanted it to be. But in between there, I was happy with (our play).”

With 19 points on 9-12 shooting, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2 assists, the freshman from France put together an outstanding performance. 

“She was huge, she was big time,” Green said. “Obviously, with the 19 points, that was great. I thought she was just under control tonight offensively… I think she just got into a rhythm, she wasn’t trying to dribble too much. She buried people down low, we got her the ball and she just turned and scored with her hook shot…

“Defensively, she’s such a presence. Obviously, with her shot-blocking ability, it alters shots, so she covers up up for some of our mistakes on the guards. When the guards get in (the post), they’re altering those shots because of her presence.”

But that performance did not start right away, as the Flyers had to overcome an early deficit. 

Missed opportunities early (3/10 on field goals through first five minutes) left the Flyers trailing the Wildcats (5/9 from the field) 12-6 at the first quarter media timeout with 4:35 left in the quarter. 

The Flyers stormed back to finish the quarter on a 12-0 run, and led 16-12 at the end of the first. A steal and coast-to-coast lay-up by freshman guard Makira Cook (missed free throw for and-1 opportunity) gave the Flyers the lead, and sophomore forward Mariah Perez punctuated the quarter with a lay-up with 1 second left.

The first five minutes of the second quarter became a back-and-forth battle, with four lead changes and one tie, culminating in a 24-22 Flyers lead with 4:53 left in the quarter. Redshirt senior guard Erin Whalen led all scorers with 9 points, the last three coming on a corner three to give the Flyers a 2-point lead.

Whalen continued to be the offensive catalyst for the Flyers, knocking down a three to give UD a 33-25 lead heading into halftime.

The redshirt senior guard had 12 points and 4 rebounds at halftime, while Magassa already had an all-around performance: 7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists.

As has been the theme for much of the season, the Flyers also had seven different scorers by halftime, and eight different Flyers had gotten their hands on a rebound.

The Flyers quickly extended their lead to start the second half, with a post lay-up by Magassa and a three from the top of the key by redshirt senior guard Araion Bradshaw, but the Wildcats quickly went on a 7-0 run to trim the Flyers’ lead to 38-32, forcing a timeout by UD with 6:22 left in the third quarter.

Magassa was found on a fastbreak outlet pass for an easy lay-up, pushing her point total to 11, and the Flyers had pushed their lead back up to eight, 42-34 at the third quarter media timeout with 4:53 remaining.

Over the next two minutes, the Flyers got points from a Magassa hook shot in the post, a three by redshirt senior guard Jenna Giacone, a lay-up by Whalen, and another Magassa lay-up, with a couple of Wildcats baskets splashed between the Flyers’. 

The sudden 11-4 run helped the Flyers take a 51-38 lead, forcing a Davidson timeout with 2:25 remaining in the third. The same score would hold at the end of the quarter.

The lay-up from Whalen late in the third also gave the Charlotte native 1,000 points in her career.

“She’s just someone that can score in every way,” Green said. “She can post up, she can obviously make the three… I’m proud of how she bounced back (after) she struggled the last couple of games… We need her to score like this, and I’m really proud of her and that she got her 1,000 points. She’s just a great player and I hope that again she can take this game, get some confidence and bring that into Saturday.”

After a three from Wildcats senior guard Katie Turner to open the fourth quarter, the Wildcats went cold, and the Flyers took advantage with a pair of lay-ups by Magassa and Cook to extend the lead to 55-41, where it was when Dayton called a timeout with 7:34 left in the game.

Giacone knocked down a floater after a spin move, and it was then Davidson’s turn to call timeout, trailing 57-41 with 7:11 left in the game.

The Wildcats began to threaten with an 8-0 run, but a three at the top of the key and a floater by Whalen stretched the Flyers’ lead back up to 64-51, where it stayed through two Davidson timeouts, first at 2:33 and then 2:21 left in the game.

The Flyers’ lead was trimmed to just nine, and Green was forced to call timeout with 1:28 remaining, the Flyers up 64-55.

Turner was able to knock down another three, but even finishing the game on a 9-0 run was not enough for Davidson to get the win, as the Flyers came away with a 64-58 win, improving to 6-1 overall and 5-0 in A10 play.

Leading scorer Magassa finished her career night with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 2 assists on 9-12 shooting from the field. 

“She was just really, really big and I hope that she can take this game and continue, you know, take the confidence from this and continue to get better because she still has she still hasn’t reached her limit,” Green said. 

Supplemented with another 19 points and 9 rebounds from Whalen, the Flyers were too much for the Wildcats to handle. 

The Flyers also got contributions from nine different scorers, and all 10 Flyers who took the court were able to grab at least 1 rebound. By winning key areas like rebounds (45-37), points off turnovers (13-11), field goal percentage (47 to 32), and blocks (6-1), the Flyers put together an excellent effort that is shaded by a close final score.

Next, the Flyers face Fordham on Saturday at UD Arena at 1 p.m. The Rams are currently 6-3, 3-2 in A10 play, and were the only team to beat the Flyers in A10 play last season. 

The teams split both meetings last year, the Flyers winning 48-44 in Dayton on Jan. 26, and Fordham winning 50-38 in the Bronx on Feb. 22.