The win moved the Flyers to 18-4 overall and more importantly kept them perfect at 11-0 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Dayton led 40-20 at halftime, and while never challenged on the scoreboard, had to find ways to grind it out against a Rams’ team that caught a second wind in the fourth quarter when the Flyers were getting some minutes for the healed walking wounded.
“We are so used to a certain allotment of available bodies than when we were up 20-plus, I wanted to get them some minutes,” Dayton coach Shauna Green said. “We made some mistakes, but a lot of it is them getting back to getting game minutes and learning to play together again. It is what it is.”
VCU never got closer than eight in the final quarter, but that came with 1:19 remaining.
Jenna Burdette hit a pair of free throws and Alex Harris a short jumper off a rebound for a 74-62 lead with 37 seconds remaining.
“I think towards the end we got a little complacent,” said Burdette, who led the Flyers with 23 points. “We need to find a way to stay intense the whole game because I think we are really energized before the game.”
Dayton led by as many as 23 in the third quarter and took a 59-36 lead into the final quarter.
The Flyers struggled early and clung to a 9-8 lead with 3:38 remaining in the first quarter before starting to take off.
Baskets by Burdette and Lauren Cannatelli opened a 10-0 run to close the quarter that ended on a basket by Jordan Wilmoth.
VCU got as close as eight in the second quarter, 25-17, but the Flyers again took off.
JaVonna Layfield ran off four straight and a basket by Jayla Scaife pushed the lead to 33-17 with 4:13 remaining, forcing VCU to take a timeout.
The Dayton defense held VCU scoreless the final three minutes of the half as they extended the lead to 40-20. VCU shot percent from the floor.
Scaife added 13 and Layfield had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds and Harris added 10 points. VCU was led by Taya Robinson with 14.
Dayton held VCU to 37-percent from the floor after the Rams enjoyed a 60-percent fourth quarter (9-15). Dayton hit 29 of 59 for the game and was nine of 17 from three (53 percent).
Dayton travels to UMass on Wednesday and George Washington on Sunday before returning home Feb. 11 against Fordham in a crucial A-10 game.
Dayton at UMass, 7 p.m.