Women’s basketball held the five-point advantage heading into the final four minutes of its matchup with Dayton. But the Flyers took a 9-2 run to end the game and escaped the upset loss Wednesday.
In a low-scoring defensive battle, the conference-leading Flyers (20-7, 13-0 A-10) prevailed, besting the Colonials (11-15, 5-8 A-10) 50–44. Dayton topped GW earlier this season and completed the sweep after Wednesday’s battle.
“We feel good that we competed on Dayton’s home floor,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “I thought that our guys showed a lot of fight and a lot of heart to be able to come back from a deficit in the first quarter, take control of the game. But obviously we’re also disappointed that we couldn’t find a way to win.”
The Flyers and Colonials each hit 5-of-16 from three-point territory, and Dayton connected on 19 field goals, one more than GW. The difference came at the charity stripe. The Colonials netted 3-of-4 all in the first half, while Dayton sunk 7-of-16.
The Colonials faced a shaky start to the first quarter, generating just three points throughout the first frame. Graduate student forward Alexandra Maund hit the lone bucket of the quarter with a strong layup and netted the free throw to complete the three-point play. Maund led the Colonials with 12 points.
The Flyers hit 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from deep in the first quarter to build a 14-point lead by the end of the first frame.
The Colonials’ offense outscored Dayton’s by five points in the second quarter to trim the deficit down. Rizzotti said the improved defense gave the team confidence on the offensive side of the court.
“We had some miscues early that resulted in some easy baskets for Dayton,” Rizzotti said. “I thought actually once we got locked in a little bit better defensively, and once we were able to string a few possessions, stops to the low, we just gained some confidence from that.”
While the Colonials improved their shooting, the squad hit just four baskets on 33.3 percent shooting in the second frame. GW capitalized on Dayton’s turnovers, netting six points from it in the second quarter.
After nabbing a steal, redshirt freshman guard Tori Hyduke went coast-to-coast, hitting a layup in transition with two minutes left in the half to cut the deficit to seven. By the end of the half, Dayton turned the ball over 10 times, doubling the number of Colonial turnovers.
GW finished the first half down nine points. Despite the deficit, the Colonials came out of the halftime break swinging. Maund hit a jumper from short range to open up the second-half scoring. But Dayton neutralized the basket by capitalizing on a turnover from Hyduke.
The Colonials responded with a re-energized offensive surge. The squad went on a 13-point run, seizing a four-point lead with a pair of daggers from deep by Hyduke and redshirt junior guard Sydney Zambrotta. Hyduke finished the night 3-of-3 from deep for 11 points. Zambrotta hit 2-of-4 from three-point range for nine points off the bench.
The Colonials finished the quarter up 36–31 after firing at a .692 clip from the field and .571 clip from beyond the arc.
Rizzotti said the Colonials relied on their deep bench to substitute frequently and keep five energized players on the court throughout the game.
“When you limit guys’ minutes and you challenge them a little bit, and they play a little bit harder, and a little bit faster, and the team you’re playing is only playing seven guys, that ends up catching up to the other team,” Rizzotti said.
At the start of the final frame, the Colonials and Flyers played gritty defense, whittling two minutes from the clock before Dayton struck first. The Flyers trimmed down the lead to one, but with just more than five minutes left, Maund and sophomore center Kayla Mokwuah hit back-to-back jumpers in the paint to push the deficit to five.
Dayton had an answer for every Colonial basket down the stretch, and redshirt junior guard and forward Erin Whalen hit two consecutive shots from beyond the arc to steal the lead. With three and a half minutes left, Zambrotta arched in a deep two to put the Colonials back on top.
The Flyers stayed consistent and hit another jump shot to put themselves ahead. Dayton ran away on a 9-2 swing that included four consecutive free throws from redshirt senior guard Shakeela Fowler.
The Flyers consistently crashed the boards, finishing the game with 42 rebounds to the Colonials’ 23. But GW distributed the ball more often, linking up for 12 assists. The Colonials fell short, dropping the game 50–44.
The Colonials hit the road again Saturday for another matchup with Duquesne. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.