With leading scorer Jenna Burdette sidelined by a leg injury, Dayton’s women’s basketball team has been forced to rework some of its offense. Though it took the Flyers a quarter to get going Wednesday night against Richmond, they found a shooting groove and used strong defense to earn a 55-39 win.
Kelley Austria led Dayton (17-7, 11-1 Atlantic 10) with a season-high 24 points. Richmond’s 39 points are the fewest an opponent has scored against the Flyers this season.
“It always helps when you’re making shots, but it really helps that our defense is staying strong and getting stops,” Austria said.
Burdette suffered a lower leg injury in practice before last Saturday’s game against VCU and is out indefinitely. A spokesperson said Dayton hopes she’ll be back before the Atlantic 10 tournament later this month. Burdette, a junior point guard, averages 12.3 points and 4.7 assists.
Lauren Cannatelli, who has taken over as point guard, scored six points and had four assists in Wednesday’s win, which 11th in a row for the Flyers.
“I think (Jenna) has only missed one game prior to this since she’s been the starting point guard,” Dayton coach Shauna Green said. “They really look to her a lot even just to make calls and get people in the right position. I’m so happy with how Lauren has stepped in and really done a great job. Credit to all these guys, because they’ve adjusted really well since she’s been out.”
After Richmond took a 9-8 lead by the end of the first quarter, the Flyers opened the second on a 10-3 run to take control. Austria scored six points in a two-minute stretch in the middle of the third to boost Dayton’s lead to 38-27, after which Richmond pulled no closer than 10.
“We weren’t executing on offense there early and we had some breakdowns on defense,” Austria said. “I think coming out of the half, we really picked it up. Our defense picked up and we got a lot of second-chance points crashing the boards.”
The Flyers made 12-of-22 field-goal attempts in the second and third quarters when they took control. Dayton made 19-of-47 overall and outrebounded Richmond 45-29.
“We’ve got to continue to shoot like that,” Green said. “We’ve been getting up a lot of extra shots and a lot reps in practice while also trying to be smart with our legs because we’re a little limited at the guard spot right now. If we can defend and rebound, we’ll continue to do well.”
Saicha Grant-Allen led the team with 14 rebounds and scored nine points, while JaVonna Layfield brought down 10 rebounds and added seven points.
Dayton plays again Sunday at George Washington.
Jaide Hinds-Clarke led Richmond (11-14, 5-7) with 10 points.
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