February 17, 2021 

Dayton emerges as the top contender in the A-10

Duquesne breaks through

Welcome to The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited, and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives, and projections about the game we love.

Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues, and grows. Paid subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.


Dayton huddles during a timeout. Photo Courtesy of Erik Schelkun

With only two weekends left in the regular season, Dayton has emerged with a multiple-game lead in the standings. 

“We got too hard of a schedule left …  No lead’s a comfortable lead and that’s where every day we just focus on being better that day and every game is trying to go 1-0,” head coach Shauna Green said. 

Several players shined brightly this week, including Cassidy Gould, Kaitlyn Downey, and Taya Robinson.

Davidson

Davidson finished the weekend at 4-7 in A-10 play and 7-10 overall after a loss to La Salle and a win against Saint Joseph’s. 

La Salle and Davidson were tied at 45 with 5:45 left in the game, but the Wildcats’ offense sputtered, allowing the Explorers to go on a 10-1 run to end the game. 

Less than 48 hours later Davidson snapped its seven-game losing streak against Saint Joseph’s and scored more than 70 points for the first time since Dec. 21. This also marked the Wildcats’ first win over the Hawks since joining the Atlantic 10 in 2014. 

Cassidy Gould matched her career-high with 22 points to lead the team, and also added four rebounds and one steal. Katie Turner (14 points), Cameron Tabor (12 points), and Adelaide Fuller (10 points) also scored in double figures. Balanced scoring will help Davidson continue its winning streak. 

The Wildcats are scheduled to travel to George Washington and George Mason on Feb. 18 and Feb. 20 respectively. 

Dayton 

Dayton improved to 12-1 and 11-0 in conference play with wins over Richmond and VCU. 

Last week the Flyers won with defense and offense, scoring just 55 points against the Hawks and 95 against La Salle. 

The Flyers controlled the game against the Spiders from the start and took a 13 point lead into halftime. 

Just two players scored in double figures, Erin Whalen and Mariah Perez, but 10 total players scored. No Dayton player played more than 27 points and eight players played at least 13 minutes. The team’s depth has allowed them to remain fresh and energized when playing two games and three days. 

Dayton was able to use this energy to outlast VCU on Sunday night, winning by just five points, its smallest margin of victory in conference play so far. 

“I told them in the locker room we haven’t had a come from behind like this and we haven’t had this tight of a game and we’ve only played 13 games. I mean that’s normally what we would have played in the non-conference so we’re still having guys in these situations of learning,” Green said. 

Jenna Giacone broke a seven-minute scoring drought to put the Flyers up four with 33 seconds left. Winning a close game will help prepare the team for closer games as the season wraps up and the conference tournament begins. 

The Flyers are scheduled to host Saint Louis on Feb. 20. 

Duquesne

Duquesne played its first game in 25 games on Feb. 12, losing to GW, and rebounded with a win over Mason on Feb. 14, winning the team’s first game since Dec. 11. 

The Dukes were slowed by a five-point third quarter and were ultimately outscored 29-14 in the second half by GW. 

Duquesne’s offense was more consistent Sunday afternoon against Mason, leading to the team’s 55-49 win. 

“To not play as long as we have and to have all the other assortment of interesting adventures along our journey this year, it’s good to have a win,” head coach Dan Burt said after the game. 

Libby Bazelak led the team with 18 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals in her third game back from injury, but Burt knows her potential is even higher.

“Obviously Libby Bazelak is our go-to and our engine and she’s looking better and better, but she’s still not 100 percent. But I’m really happy with how Libby played today how she led our team,” Burt said. 

The Dukes are scheduled to host Rhode Island on Feb. 18. 

Fordham

Fordham improved to 11-3 overall and 8-2 in conference play after a 51-36 win over Saint Joseph’s.

The defense was key for the Rams against the Hawks. Fordham allowed Saint Joseph’s to score in double figures in just one quarter. The Rams allowed the Hawks to make 27.8 percent of their shots from the floor and 11.1 percent of their threes. 

“We struggled to score in the third quarter but we stayed tough defensively and that was the difference,” head coach Stephanie Gaitley said. 

Kaitlyn Downey was able to make an impact on every part of the game with 15 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, four blocks, and three steals. Anna DeWolfe (13 points) and Kendell Heremaia (12 points also scored in double figures). 

While Fordham scored just five points in the third quarter a solid defense and balanced scoring was again the recipe for success for the Rams. 

On Feb. 14 the university announced that due to a spike in COVID-19 cases at the Rose Hill campus all activities, including athletics have paused for two weeks. Based on the existing A-10 schedule this would include postponing the team’s remaining four games against Mason (Feb. 18), GW (Feb. 20), Dayton (Feb. 26), and Saint Louis (Feb. 28). As of Feb. 15, no formal cancelations or postponements have been announced by Fordham Athletics. 

George Mason 

Mason fell to 0-12 in A-10 play and 3-16 overall after losses to St. Bonaventure and Duquesne. 

“I thought we were maybe going to get one today. In the stretch of 40 minutes, there were probably as many good things as we’ve had in a long, long time … Unfortunately the same result but I did think from this two-game stretch there are certainly some things to build and to grow on,” Milleson said after the team’s 55-49 loss to Duquesne on Feb. 14. 

Last weekend, Rachel Balzer averaged 14.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals, providing consistency for the Patriots who have struggled to have the same players score in double figures multiple games in a row in conference play. 

“I’m finally starting to find my place on this team and finally finding consistency. But I can’t thank my teammates enough they’ve had my back during my shooting slump,” Balzer said. 

The Patriots are scheduled to host Davidson on Feb. 20. 

George Washington 

GW improved to 3-9 in conference play and 6-12 overall after wins over Duquesne and St. Bonaventure. 

Maddie Loder made (three) three-pointers in the first three minutes of GW’s game against Duquesne and finished a perfect 4-4 from behind the arc. The junior, who averaged 5.4 points per game going into the game, finished with 15 points, two assists, and three steals. 

Overall, GW shot a season-best 51 percent from the floor and scored 30 points in the paint. 

The defense was critical for the Colonials who held St. Bonaventure to 29.8 percent from the floor and to just 39 points. GW also outrebounded the Bonnies 39-24. GW also outplayed St. Bonaventure on offense knocking down five more threes and shooting its second-best percentage from the floor, 46.9 percent. 

Going forward GW will need to put together a quality game on both sides of the ball to continue its win streak. 

The Colonials are scheduled to host Davidson on Feb. 18. 

La Salle 

La Salle improved to 6-7 in conference play and 10-10 overall after a win over Davidson, snapping the team’s four-game losing streak to the Wildcats. 

The Explorers were led by Claire Jacobs who had a season-high 27 points and added five rebounds and five steals. 

Once again La Salle won the turnover battle (+6) and turned Davidson’s 17 turnovers into 19 points, something that has been critical to the team in its wins this season. 

The team finally proved it could win without making a lot of threes. This was the first time the team won making fewer than seven threes, having made four. 

The Explorers are scheduled to travel to Richmond to take on VCU and Richmond on Feb. 18 and Feb. 20 respectively. 

Massachusetts

Massachusetts remains on an Athletic Department-wide pause. The Minutewomen are next scheduled to take on VCU and Richmond on Feb. 26 and Feb. 28 respectively. 

Rhode Island 

The Rams bye week was extended by the conference after their game against Massachusetts was canceled. 

The Rams are currently scheduled to travel to Duquesne and St. Bonaventure on Feb. 18 and Feb. 20 respectively. 

Richmond

Richmond fell to 10-6 overall and 7-4 in conference play after losing to Dayton and Saint Louis.

The Spiders were outrebounded 51-23 by Dayton and were unable to recover. Dayton’s 27 offensive rebounds turned into 28 second-chance points, something Richmond was unable to recover from. 

Richmond performed better on the glass and offensively against Saint Louis, but still struggled to close out the game. The team had numerous opportunities to close the gap, but failed to do so, including a turnover with 11 seconds left down 58-54.  

As the end of the regular season nears, Richmond will need to prove it can finish games to finish the season strong. 

The Spiders are currently scheduled to host Saint Joseph’s and La Salle on Feb. 18 and Feb. 20  respectively.

St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure finished the weekend 4-9 in conference play and 5-11 overall after a win against Mason and a loss to GW. 

The win over Mason was the first time since the 2018-2019 season the Bonnies won three games in a row. 

Three-point shooting was the difference for the Bonnies in its pair of games last weekend. St. Bonaventure shot 40 percent from behind the arc, sinking 10 threes, against Mason. The Bonnies struggled from behind the arc against GW, going 3-17. 

Moving forward the Bonnies will need to make threes to remain in the win column. 

The Bonnies are scheduled to host Rhode Island on Feb. 20. 

Saint Joseph’s

Saint Joseph’s fell to 3-7 in conference play and 5-7 overall after losses to Fordham and Davidson. 

The Hawks extended their losing streak to six games, having not won a game since Jan. 29. 

Against Fordham, Saint Joseph’s forced 11 turnovers but turned it into just two points off of turnovers. The team did better Sunday, forcing 13 Wildcats turnovers and turned it into 12 points off turnovers. Turning turnovers into points will be key for the Hawks to get into the win column. 

Kaliah Henderson had an impactful weekend, scoring in double figures for the third and fourth game in a row. Against Fordham, she led the team with 14 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Against Davidson, she had 17 points, three rebounds, and four assists. 

The Hawks are scheduled to travel to Richmond and VCU on Feb. 18 and Feb. 20. 

Saint Louis 

Saint Louis improved to 9-3 overall and 7-3 in conference play after wins over VCU and Richmond.  

A 32 point fourth quarter propelled the Billikens to victory, overcoming a 12-point second-half deficit for the second time in three games. Ciaja Harbison scored a team-high 17 points, including 13 in the second half, and added one rebound, four assists, one block, and one steal. 

Saint Louis outscored Richmond 12-2 from the free-throw line, which proved to be the difference in the game. Harbison again led the team in scoring with 18 points and a career-high 12 assists for her first career double-double, as well as added three rebounds, one block, and one steal.

The Billikens are scheduled to travel to Dayton on Feb. 20. 

VCU

VCU fell to 9-9 overall and 7-4 in conference play after losses to Saint Louis and Dayton. 

The Rams allowed the Billikens to score 32 points fourth-quarter points after leading for most of the game.VCU shot just 29 percent from the floor. 

Taya Robinson was the only Ram to score in double figures, totaling 18 points.VCU will need more than one player to score in double figures to get back in the win column. 

The team’s fourth-quarter comeback against Dayton fell just short, with Robinson’s three falling short with 22 seconds to go. While VCU trailed by 12 with 8:16 to go but went on a 10-0 run to get within one possession. 

The Rams are scheduled to host La Salle and Saint Joseph’s on Feb. 18 and Feb. 20 respectively. 

Written by Natalie Heavren

Natalie Heavren has been covering women’s basketball since February 2019 and currently covers both the Atlantic 10 and the WNBA.

Leave a Comment