Dayton (14-3) will hope for an at-large berth, though Green said before the A-10 tournament she didn’t think her team had a chance of making the NCAA tournament if it didn’t win the A-10 championship because it played only two non-conference games. Dayton ranked 68th in the NCAA Evaluation Tool entering this game.
The NCAA tournament bracket will be announced at 7 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Dayton will also be a candidate for the NIT, which will announce its field after the NCAA selection show.
Dayton overcame two COVID-19 shutdowns to win the A-10 regular-season championship, and that’s what Green will remember about this season.
“They were always so resilient and so together and stayed the course and focused on the goals that we wanted to accomplish,” Green said. “We accomplished the one. Our first one was the regular-season championship, but our second one we fell short. But I love this group. I’m so proud of them. This is a special group to me. These seniors are just special. We’re gonna miss them. I would love for them to come back, but we’ll have those discussions later.”
Dayton advanced to the semifinals for the fifth straight season with an 85-70 victory Friday against La Salle. VCU beat Davidson 69-52 to reach the semifinals for the third straight season.
Dayton had control of this game early, building a 19-12 lead in the second quarter. Then VCU asserted itself with an 18-4 run to end the half. Dayton regained the lead with an 8-1 run to start the third quarter. Dayton trailed 43-42 entering the fourth quarter.’
The lead changed hands six times in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. Dayton took its last lead, 48-47, on a layup by Tenin Magassa with 6:25 to play. The Flyers didn’t score again until 1:15 remained. A basket by Magassa cut VCU’s lead to 52-50.
VCU’s Taya Robinson clinched the victory by making 4 of 4 free throws in the final 25 seconds.
Jenna Giacone led Dayton with 16 points on 7-of-20 shooting. Kyla Whitehead scored 10 points. Magassa had 10 rebounds.
Dayton shot 36 percent from the field, while VCU shot 37 percent. Each team made 19 field goals. Dayton shot its second-worst percentage of the season at the free-throw line (6 of 13, 46.2 percent), while VCU made 14 of 19 (78 percent).
“It wasn’t the way we wanted the game to go,” Giacone said. “We dug ourselves a hole going into halftime and just struggled to get back out of it. It’s frustrating obviously.”