With a pair of swishes from deep, redshirt junior guard and forward Erin Whalen and junior guard Jayla Scaife opened up the floodgates for Dayton, giving it a lead over women’s basketball it maintained through the final whistle.
Scaife led all scorers with 20 points as Dayton (13-7, 6-0 A-10) steamrolled the Colonials (7-11, 1-4 A-10) 66–50 during a Pride Night game. The Flyers’ versatile offense took off for 30 points from deep, 22 points in the paint and 21 second-chance points.
“I just told the team in the locker room that the standard that we need to try and meet is Dayton right now,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “I thought they played great. Their level of effort is really really high, both defensively, run in transition and obviously on the glass.”
Graduate student forward Alexandra Maund netted a team-leading 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. She extended her double-digit scoring streak to six games.
Dayton opened the scoring sheet up from deep, but Maund responded with an offensive rebound and put-back. Redshirt freshman forward Mayowa Taiwo equalized the game with a free throw, but Dayton took off and ran away with the game.
The Dayton offense occupied four minutes of the clock with an 11-point run where they went 5-of-12 from the floor. Sophomore center Kayla Mokwuah sunk a layup to end the drought, and the Colonials finished the frame down eight.
The Flyers crashed the boards hard and out-rebounded the Colonials 40-18.
“We need to be better about boxing out,” Maund said. “That’s been a goal of ours for the entire season. It’s about time that we just dig in and do it. That’s what it is. We just have to be better about rebounding.”
In the first frame alone, Dayton nabbed 15 boards. Rizzotti said she shifted the squad’s defense from zone to man-to-man to better defend the rim.
“We were able to match up and box out a little bit better in our man-and-man defense,” Rizzotti said. “I thought that was good for our team to see them really battle back and get the game to a manageable level before halftime.”
The Colonials improved their offensive execution throughout the second quarter, sinking 5-of-9 from the field and outscoring their competition by one point by halftime. The Flyers’ defense slowed down the Colonials’ passing, which forced the squad to adapt.
“I think our offense is a quicker offense once we’re set in our half court,” junior guard Lexus Levy said. “We got to move the ball quickly. So being able to deny and take that away, we struggled a little bit, but we started to figure it out.”
The team went cold from beyond the arc in the first half, missing all five attempts. Dayton sunk 3-of-7 from deep in the first quarter but cooled down and missed all five of their shots in the second.
Dayton roared into the second half with 10 unanswered points over the first four minutes of play. Whalen scored eight points in the opening run and 11 throughout the quarter as the Flyer offense collected 21 total points to close out the third. Dayton fired at a .700 clip from the field and a .714 clip from three-point range.
The Colonials’ offense found their footing in the latter half of the quarter. Freshman forward Faith Blethen and redshirt freshman guard Tori Hyduke hit the Colonials’ only three-pointers of the game for the Colonials in back-to-back fashion.
But the squad was outscored 11-10 throughout the rest of the third quarter. The Flyers turned the ball over seven times in the third frame but entered the fourth up 50–31.
The Colonials went to work in the fourth quarter and chipped away at Dayton’s lead, narrowing it to 16 points on a combination of jumpers from Mokwuah and graduate student guard Ariel Stephenson.
The team shot 62.5 percent from the field to mark its most efficient quarter from the floor. But the squad was cold from three-point range and outscored its opponents by just three points in the frame. The Colonials dropped the contest 66–50.
“Teams that are really, really good can turn their defense into offense,” Rizzotti said. “We are not there yet. I’ve been slowing them down because, unfortunately, sometimes we’ll make a great defensive play, and then we’ll go and turn it over. So I’ve been trying to find that balance between making sure that we’re getting good shots off of our defense, but if I don’t feel comfortable.”
The Colonials return to the Smith Center against Massachusetts at noon Sunday.