The Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team has almost twice as many rebounds as its first two opponents: Lipscomb and Toledo. The Flyers built 105-59 advantage on the boards in two victories.
Maintaining that pace might not be possible this week with the nation’s sixth-ranked team, South Carolina, coming to UD Arena at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Gamecocks beat then No. 4 Maryland 63-54 on Sunday in part because of a 54-38 rebounding advantage.
“I told them we don’t have to beat them on the boards,” Dayton coach Shauna Green said, “but we have to at least stay with them.”
» GAME TWO: Flyers win at Toledo
This is the first of two high-profile matchups at UD Arena this month. Dayton hosts No. 4 Connecticut at 7 p.m. Nov. 26. That game is part of a three-game deal in which Dayton plays at UConn twice. The first matchup took place in 2016. Dayton returns to Storrs, Conn., next season.
“We always schedule tough, even though this is probably the hardest schedule we’ve put together here,” Green said. ” We have to play the best in order to be the best. We look at them as opportunities. If we talk about being a NCAA tournament team, you have to put yourself in a position to get an at-large. That only comes with playing teams that are going to be in the NCAA tournament.”
South Carolina won the national championship in 2017, reached the Elite Eight in 2018 and played in the Sweet 16 last season. Its coach, Dawn Staley, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, is in her 12th season.
Among the South Carolina players to watch is senior guard Tyasha Harris, one of 50 preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy. She had 13 points against Maryland. Aliyah Boston, a 6-foot-5 freshman forward who was the third-ranked recruit in the class of 2019, led the team with 14 points.
» SEASON OPENER: Flyers rout Lipscomb
This will be the second game in a two-game series. Last season, Dayton played the Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C., and lost 65-55. Harris scored 24 points. Julia Chandler led Dayton with 15 points. The Flyers trailed 57-55 with four minutes to play but didn’t score again, missing their last five shots.
South Carolina returned only two starters from that team but added the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.
“They’re a very good team,” Green said. “They’re long. They’re athletic. They defend. They’re going to pressure us. But also they are a young team. Will they be consistent? That’s to be determined. We’re a veteran team. We know what we have to do. We played with them last year, so we have confidence from that game and we have nothing to lose.”
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