By: Steve Miller – Asst. Sports Editor
Oh, how sweet it is!
Dayton defeated the University of Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament in a monumental 99-94 second round win. The game took place on Kentucky’s home court, Memorial Coliseum, in Lexington, Kentucky.
It marked the first time in the UD women’s program history that the team has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
This was the goal set out by head coach Jim Jabir for the Flyers at the beginning of the season. The motto for this week’s practice was, “We’re going to the Sweet Sixteen.”
Senior Ally Malott carried the team on her shoulders, recording her eighth double-double of the season with 28 points and 13 rebounds.
Dayton’s leading scorer, senior guard Andrea Hoover, fouled out midway through the second half after recording just five points.
Thanks to an incredible free throw percentage and several clutch 3-pointers, Hoover will have another chance to end her career on an ever higher note.
UD overcame a nine point first half deficit to cut the lead to 42-45 at the half.
Junior Amber Deane sank a 3-pointer to close out the first period and keep Dayton in the game.
UD stuck with Kentucky for the entire second half, and hit the Wildcats hard with defensive pressure to gain an advantage.
With a minute remaining, junior Kelly Austria drilled a 3-pointer to give Dayton their first significant lead of the half, 90-87. After a defensive stop, Kentucky’s only choice was to foul the Flyers shooters. That played perfectly into Dayton’s game plan.
UD was stellar from the charity stripe in the game, hitting 28 of 31 free throws for an unbelievable 90 percent clip.
The buzzer sounded, and the team leapt in jubilation at their first ever Sweet Sixteen run.
The Flyers will take on the winner of the University of Louisville versus University of South Florida Saturday in the regional semifinal.
At 8:15 p.m., the team will return to campus with 200 free T-shirts.