Wednesday did not get off to a good start for the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team, but it ended with a 65-57 victory against La Salle — and that’s all that matters.
On the way to the game, Dayton’s bus hit a curb outside its hotel in Philadelphia and got a flat tire. Everyone had to grab Ubers to get to the game. Coach Shauna Green lost track of how many different cars they used.
“I don’t know who paid for them,” Green said Thursday at UD’s Cronin Center. “I just know we got there.”
The team got to Tom Gola Arena a little late. The game was delayed 15 minutes so the Flyers would have their normal warm-up time. Dayton also had travel complications during one of its trips to Florida earlier this season — the bus broke down outside the hotel — but it lost that game.
This time, Dayton (11-3, 2-0) won its fifth straight game, and became the first team in the Atlantic 10 Conference, which has been plagued by COVID-19 postponements, to win two games.
Kyla Whitehead and Tenin Magassa each reached their season highs with 18 points. They combined to make 17 of 23 shots. Whitehead ranks fourth on the team in scoring (7.5 points per game), and Magassa ranks sixth (3.9).
“I think that’s what makes this team special,” Green said. “Every night someone new steps up.”
Jenna Giacone scored 12 points. Capria Brown led the team with 10 rebounds. Araion Bradshaw had seven assists.
Dayton’s defense played the biggest part in the victory. It held La Salle (8-6, 1-1) to its season-worst shooting percentage (29.2 percent, 19 of 65). The Explorers (8-6, 1-1) entered the game on a high note, having beaten Fordham 71-62 on Sunday. Fordham was picked to finish third in the A-10.
“For us, defense is always a key,” Green said, “but we held them to (29 percent) shooting from the floor, and we held their leading scorer, who really went off at that Fordham game, to five points and got her in foul trouble early. We’re always going to hang our hat on defense, especially on the road in conference play. Sometimes offense doesn’t travel, but your defense should travel. We have control over our defense. I was proud of our defensive effort. That really won the game for us.”
Dayton plays Saint Louis (4-8, 0-0) at noon Sunday at UD Arena. The Billikens haven’t played since Dec. 20. They had one non-conference game cancelled because of COVID-19 issues and their first two A-10 games postponed.
“I think when whenever we play St. Louis, you’ve kind of got throw the records away because it’s developed into a pretty good rivalry,” Green said, “and they got some really good pieces.”
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