Women’s basketball: Freshman helps lead Dayton to victory in A-10 opener

Dayton's Makira Cook dribbles against St. Bonaventure on Friday, Jan. 1, 2020, at UD Arena. Photo by Erik Schelkun
Dayton's Makira Cook dribbles against St. Bonaventure on Friday, Jan. 1, 2020, at UD Arena. Photo by Erik Schelkun

The Dayton Flyers women’s basketball returned to action after a 26-day layoff and beat St. Bonaventure 56-47 in their Atlantic 10 Conference opener Friday at UD Arena.

“It was just great to be back on the court,” Dayton coach Shauna Green said. “We’re still trying to figure out combinations and rotations and all that, but I’m just really proud of how we came out. Our defense No. 1 was really good. We’ve worked on that and have gotten a lot better. We know that’s what we’re going to hang our hat on.”

Dayton held St. Bonaventure, which shot 38.7 percent from the field in its first four games, to 29.1 percent shooting. The Bonnies made 3 of 16 3-pointers (18.8).

On offense, the top scorer for Dayton was freshman guard Makira Cook. She scored five points in Dayton’s first two games and had 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting in this game. Cook, who’s from Hamilton and graduated from Mount Notre Dame, made 3 of 4 3-pointers.

“Makira was highly recruited,” Green said. “She had a lot of different options. We know how important Makira was to our program. I know she’s going to be a heck of a player. That’s what she’s capable of. She has a scoring mindset. She can score at all three levels.”

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Erin Whalen led the starters with nine points. She and Jenna Giacone suffered ankle injuries during the game.

“They’re hobbled,” Green said. “They wanted to play. I’m sure they were mad I didn’t put them back in. We’ve got a game in 48 hours. We held (the lead) without them. Hopefully, they’ll get treatment and feel good on Sunday.”

Freshman Tenin Magassa had nine rebounds and six blocked shots, the ninth-highest single-game total in school history.

Dayton trailed 10-9 late in the first quarter when a layup by Cook started a 7-0 run. The Flyers ended the first half with a 9-3 run and led 27-17 at halftime. They pushed their lead to as many as 16 points in the third quarter.

This was Dayton’s first game since a 77-74 loss to Akron at UD Arena on Dec. 6. COVID-19 issues within the program — positive tests and contact tracing that resulted in other players and staff members having to quarantine — resulted in the cancellation of five non-conference games.

Dayton will play Duquesne (2-3, 1-0) in its next game at noon Sunday at UD Arena. Duquesne was scheduled to play Saint Louis on Friday, but that game was postponed because of COVID-19 issues at Saint Louis.

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