Turnovers, Transition Defense Plague Colonials in Tough Road Loss to #17/16 Dayton
Women’s Basketball Writer
DAYTON, Ohio– Despite a hot shooting start by the Colonials, the Dayton Flyers, led by freshman Amber Deane’s 22 points, stay undefeated in conference play and avoid their second loss of the season by taking down GW 80-52.
Grad student Tara Booker and senior Shi-Heria Shipp led the way scoring-wise for the Colonials, both scoring ten. Booker also added nine rebounds to her perfect 4-4 from the field, mostly in the first half. Megan Nipe got back into the swing of things after a poor shooting performance against VCU, netting nine points on 4-8 shooting.
GW came out of their VCU game with a key road win, shooting over 69 percent in the first half and getting five players into double figures. But this Dayton team, undefeated at home this season, was able to hold the Colonials at bay.
GW started off the game with a quick lead spurred on by 6-11 shooting. Shi-Heria Shipp and Chakecia Miller were able to get penetration and open layups. The Dayton defense looked hapless inside, as Ally Malott had a hard time handling Mostafa and Booker. The defensive end also had a great start for the Colonials, with Dayton starting off just 4-15 from the field.
But Flyers coach Jim Jabir, who helped this Flyers team to an A-10 title last year and the highest-rated mid-major recruiting class this year, was able to turn the game around in a hurry. Amber Deane scored seven points in the last 3:44 as part of a 15-0 Dayton run to end the half. The run was fueled by turnovers—GW finished the game with 22, the most since their loss on December 12th to Auburn. Chakecia Miller, who controlled the point for the most part during the game, gave it up six times, the most so far in conference play.
On the turnovers, head coach Jonathan Tsipis remarked that “you’re not going to win on the road when you turn it over 22 times.” The road environment was a tough one, as nearly 6,000 schoolchildren populated the capacious University of Dayton Arena for their annual “Math Day” promotion.
The interior defense turned it up a notch for the Flyers after the first ten minutes, as the Colonials were forced into poor looks, shot-clock violations, and turnovers in the lane. The paint, which was wide open early in the game, closed up under the hawkish play of junior center Cassie Sant, who had a much better time on both ends against Mostafa, White, and Booker than any of the other bigs for the Flyers.
Also key was the breakdown in transition defense. UD thrived in the first ten seconds of the shot clock, getting coast-to-coast drives and stop-and-pop threes. Transition defense was key to the St. Joseph’s loss last week and it proved problematic once again. The time it takes the Colonials to set up is the soft underbelly of this otherwise solid defense. Dayton finished the game with 30 fast break points, which is double the next highest mark allowed by GW this season.
The Colonials went into halftime down but not out, as they trailed by 18. However, the trends that led to that run continued. GW was able to mount a 6-0 run, aided by an 0-9 shooting start for Dayton, but they were able to return to their successful ways, taking advantage of Colonials turnovers and poor fast break defense. Cassie Sant and senior forward Olivia Applewhite both did phenomenal jobs of getting open in the post, creating just enough separation between themselves and their defenders to get shots.
Even with the shortcomings of GW, there are definitely some positive takeaways. This game must be taken into perspective—Dayton is the best team in the conference, far and away. They are defending conference champions and the only mid-major team in either top 25 poll. GW held the Flyers to below their season average shooting percentage and scored more points against UD than any of their previous three conference opponents. The Flyers have some phenomenal athletes, including sophomore Ally Malott, whose 17 points and seven rebounds helped propel Dayton to the win. There were some incredible athletes on the floor for Dayton and I am sure that Coach Tsipis will spend some time in the film room showing what they did right so the Colonials can recover.
They will try to do that on Sunday, as the Colonials (7-11, 1-3 Atlantic 10) will now come back home to face the Rhode Island Rams (5-14, 0-4 A-10). Tipoff is at 2pm, and you can listen to all the action on WRGW Sports-Colonials Radio Central.