One team that has come a long way this season is Dayton, which lead the Atlantic 10 Conference with a 5-0 record. It’s the first 5-0 start to an Atlantic 10 season in school history. At 17-1 overall, the Flyers are one of just five teams in the country with just one loss this season, joining a select company that includes Baylor, Connecticut, Duke and Notre Dame.
Although the Flyers are enjoying a banner year, it didn’t appear that promising at the start when they lost their only exhibition game to Division II powerhouse Ashland at Dayton Arena. A team featuring six freshmen and a sophomore, Dayton was unsure of its prospects for the season.
Dayton grew up in a hurry and began putting together things with non-conference wins against DePaul, Vanderbilt, Arizona State and Michigan State. The only loss came Dec. 30 at Bowling Green. The Flyers have run roughshod through the A-10 thus far with the five wins, against Butler, La Salle, Rhode Island, George Washington and Massachusetts by an average of 36.8 points per game.
Head coach Jim Jabir and the Flyers feature a balanced attack led by senior starting point guard Sam MacKay. A flamboyant play maker, MacKay is one one of four Flyers averaging double figures with 10.8 points per game while dishing out a team-best 95 assists. Dayton is led in scoring by Ally Malott (12.4 ppg), while Amber Deane (11.6 ppg) and Andrea Hoover (11.3 ppg) supply additional punch. Junior post player Cassie Sant (9.4 ppg) has started every game after not starting any her first two seasons at Dayton.
Jabir, the all-time wins leader at Dayton for women’s basketball, needs four wins to reach 400 career victories and has a career record of 396-346 in his 26th season. At Dayton he is 176-123 in 10 seasons. Jabir has built the current Dayton program with home-grown talent; four players — Kelley Austria, Sant, Hoover and Malott — grew up less than 20 minutes from the Dayton campus. Despite other scholarship offers, all decided to fly together for their hometown team.
Duquesne, also off to a 5-0 start to the conference season, and St. Joseph’s (4-0) appear to be Dayton’s biggest challengers for the A-10 crown. Dayton will play host to Duquesne on Feb. 18 and St. Joseph’s on March 3.
Week of Milestones
• Baylor’s Brittney Griner leads the honor roll. The 6-foot-8 Griner blocked eight shots in a home win against Oklahoma on Jan. 26, giving her an NCAA women’s record of 665 blocks for her career, two more than Louella Tomlinson had for St. Mary’s of California (2007-11). If not for fouling out in the game with Oklahoma, Griner was on the verge of becoming the Big 12 Conference’s all-time scoring leader as well. She now needs three points to surpass Andrea Riley, who scored 2,835 points during her career at Oklahoma State (2007-10). Baylor’s win against Oklahoma was the program’s 50th consecutive home victory at the Ferrel Center in Waco. Griner and the No. 1 Lady Bears will be back in action Wednesday at Texas Tech.
• Skylar Diggins helped Notre Dame become the first team ever to beat both Connecticut and Tennessee in three consecutive seasons. The Irish won 73-72 at Connecticut on Jan. 5 and defeated Tennessee 77-67 on Jan. 28. Diggins had 33 points in the impressive win over the Lady Vols. Earlier in the week, Diggins became the fourth Irish player in history to surpass 2,000 points for her career in a win against Providence.
• Seton Hall senior Brittany Morris has connected on 145 career 3-pointers and needs 12 to pass Ebonie Williams (2007-10) and Jodi Brooks (1990-94) for the program record.
• St. John’s senior Nadirah McKenith made history during the weekend as she became the school’s all-time career assists leader with 532.
• Duke’s 80-57 home win on Jan. 27 was the 34th consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference home win for the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
• Chynna Turner of Wichita State was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week. A senior forward, Turner also snagged her 500th career rebound in a win against Evansville.
|WOMEN’S FINAL FOUR TICKETS|
A select number of individual all-session tickets to the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans are currently available for purchase by logging on to www.NCAA.com/tickets.
All-session tickets will enable the ticket holder to watch the two national semifinal games on April 7, beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT, and the national championship game on April 9 that tips off at 7:30 p.m. CT. All games will be played at New Orleans Arena.
Florida Gulf Coast sends a message: Last Saturday’s highly anticipated matchup in the Atlantic Sun Conference turned into a no-contest as Florida Gulf Coast prevailed 74-55 against previously undefeated Stetson. Florida Gulf Coast has now won 10 consecutive games. The two teams will meet again on Feb. 23 at Stetson.
Albany rolls: Riding a strong week that included wins against conference challenger Boston University and Vermont, Albany is alone atop the America East Conference standings with a 7-0 conference mark, 16-3 overall. The Great Danes have reeled off eight consecutive victories and have won 14 of the past 15 games. Albany and Boston will meet again on Feb. 21 in Albany.
Penn State, Ohio State on different paths: Winners of 11 consecutive games, Penn State sits atop the Big Ten Conference with a 7-0 record, 17-2 overall. The latest Nittany Lion victory came at the expense of Ohio State, 71-56 on Jan. 27 in Columbus. Penn State has now won 14 consecutive Big Ten games. Saturday’s game was a battle of two teams going in different directions; Ohio State dropped to 1-6 in conference play with the home loss. The good news for the Buckeyes was the return of senior guard Amber Stokes. She had missed the previous four games with a sprained knee.
UConn’s shutdown defense: In its 67-31 win at Cincinnati on Jan. 26, Connecticut held the Bearcats to just three field goals in the first half and led 41-9 at halftime. The Huskies closed the half with a 24-1 run. The nine points were the fewest Connecticut has allowed in an opening half this season. The Huskies lead the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 46.7 points per game.
Delaware rises to top of Colonial: Behind the play of a healthy Elena Delle Donne, Delaware is playing its best basketball of the season and is now in charge in the Colonial Athletic Association. Delaware improved its conference mark to 6-0 by defeating its nearest challenger, Drexel, during the weekend by a 65-56 count on the road. Delle Donne had 24 points and six rebounds in the win.