March 5, 2021 

Defining success for each team in the Atlantic 10 Tournament

Dayton is favored, Fordham is streaking

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Rhode Island huddles during a timeout. Photo Courtesy of PhotoByFriday – Alan Hubbard.

With Dayton’s Feb. 28 win over Davidson, the team clinched its sixth Atlantic 10 regular-season title. 

“We found a way and made plays down the stretch when we needed to. I’m so incredibly proud of this group for accomplishing our first goal of winning another regular-season championship. This one was tough with so much adversity and challenges related to COVID,” head coach Shauna Green said. 

She added, “Through it all, we have stayed together, stayed positive, locked in on the process, and took one day at a time with the mindset for constant improvement. Now it is time to focus on preparing for the A-10 Championship.” 

The rest of the seeding for the conference tournament can be found below.

Here’s what each team needs to do in order to succeed in the tournament. All game times listed are ET. 

Davidson

Davidson finished the regular season 5-10 in conference play and 8-13 overall after losses to Saint Louis and Dayton. 

The Wildcats struggled behind the arc against the Billikens, with Katie Turner making all three of the teams made three-pointers.

The team made seven threes against Dayton, but were unable to match the Flyers’ energy in the second half, allowing the team to go on an 18-4 run out of halftime. The Wildcats were unable to close out the game against the Flyers.

To be successful in the tournament Davidson will have to make its threes and score consistently in all four quarters. The team has not lost in the opening round of the conference tournament since the 2017-2018 season. 

The Wildcats are scheduled to take on St. Bonaventure on March 10 at 1 p.m. 

Dayton 

Dayton secured its second straight A-10 regular-season title with the team’s 72-66 win over Davidson.  

Free throws were critical for the Flyers who attempted a season-high 30 three throws, including all of the team’s final 10 free throws in the last 2:09 to close out the game. 

The Flyers also dominated on the glass, winning that battle 45-23, its second-largest rebounding margin of the season. Dayton has been outrebounded just once this season, by St. Bonaventure on Jan. 1. 

Success for the Flyers in the A-10 tournament would be a win, something the team has done twice since 2017. Rebounding and free throws will be critical for the team’s success. The team will also need to shoot at least 30 percent from the floor, as its lone loss came to Saint Louis when it shot under 30 percent. 

Dayton is scheduled to play the winner of La Salle and Duquesne on March 12 at 11 a.m. 

Duquesne

Duquesne finished the regular season 4-7 in conference play and 5-10 overall after a win against La Salle and a loss to Saint Joseph’s. 

Nine Dukes scored at least seven points against La Salle, and the balanced attack helped the team achieve its third win in four games. 

Against La Salle Duquesne shot 36 free throws, making 25 of them. The team made just 11 of its 17 attempts against Saint Joseph’s. 

Balanced scoring and free throws will be critical for the Dukes if they are to win a game in the conference tournament for the third straight year. 

Libby Bazelak has been inconsistent since returning from injury, scoring in double figures twice before averaging 4.8 points per game over the next four, and Dukes will need her to make contributions at both ends of the court. 

Duquesne is scheduled to play La Salle on March 11 at 11 a.m. 

Fordham

Fordham finished the regular season with a record of 12-3, including a mark of 8-2 in conference play. The Rams defeated GW on March 4 in its first game since Feb. 12. 

The team started off slow, 27 points in the first three quarters, but a 21-point fourth-quarter propelled the team to victory. 

“It was great to get on the court against a very hot GW team. We were rusty and this game helped us a great deal to work through some things. I’m glad we were able to get this game under our belt,” head coach Stephanie Gaitley said after the win. 

Kendell Heremaia shot an efficient 7-for-10 from the floor, including 3-for-6 from behind the arc, to lead the Rams with 19 points, eight rebounds and three steals. She will have to continue to be at the top of her game in order for the Rams to sustain the momentum of their six-game win streak dating back to mid-January. 

The Rams are scheduled to take on the winner of Massachusetts and Saint Joseph’s on March 12 at 5 p.m. 

George Mason 

George Mason fell to 0-14 in A-10 play and 3-18 overall after a 68-39 loss to GW. 

The Patriots turned the ball over 24 times, which the Colonials turned into 26 points. Just 10 of the team’s 39 points came from its starters. Underclassmen Taylor Jameson and Jazmyn Doster led the team with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Success in the conference tournament for the Patriots would be the team’s first conference win of the season. In order to achieve that the team will need to score the ball, something the team has struggled to do since mid-December. Mason will also need to limit its turnovers, which will also give the team more shot opportunities. 

Mason is scheduled to take on George Washington on March 10 at 4 p.m. 

George Washington 

GW finished the regular season with a record of 8-13 and an A-10 record of 5-9. The team’s 48-43 loss to Fordham on March 4 snapped a four-game winning streak. 

The Colonials jumped out to a 20-7 lead to start the team’s Feb. 28 game against Mason. The team would carry the momentum throughout the game, eventually winning 68-39, the team’s largest A-10 victory since Feb. 18, 2017, against Mason. 

Gabby Nikitinaite, who averaged 5.2 points per game going into the game, exploded for 22 points, two rebounds, one block and one steal. To win games in the conference tournament, the Colonials will need to continue to get scoring from unexpected places. 

Against Fordham, GW had zero players score in double figures, something the team will not be able to do and expect to win games in the tournament. 

The Colonials are scheduled to play Mason for the third time this season on March 10 at 4 p.m. 

La Salle 

La Salle finished the regular season 7-10 in conference play and 11-13 overall. The Explorers enter the postseason having just one of their last four games.  

Kayla Spruill has been critical to the team’s success this season — she’s been held under 10 points just once since mid-January. Against Duquesne, she scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds. On the season she is averaging 14.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. 

The Explorers are the best free-throw shooting team in the A-10, something they will need to continue to execute in order to win a tournament game for the first time since the 2016-2017 season. 

La Salle is scheduled to take on Duquesne on March 11 at 11 a.m. 

Massachusetts

Massachusetts finished the regular season 11-6 overall and 7-5 in conference play. After a narrow loss to VCU on Feb. 26, the team’s first game since Jan. 31, the team finished conference play with a win over Richmond. 

The team’s win over Richmond was its first since Jan. 15, giving the team a little bit of momentum prior to the tournament.  

Freshman Ber’Nyah Mayo impressed in the final weekend of the regular season, averaging 18.5 points, 3.5 points and 3.0 assists over two games. Mayo will be able to provide a spark for the Minutewomen heading into the conference tournament. 

Getting to the free throw line will also be critical for the team in the A-10 tournament, the team only shot 14 free throws in the loss to VCU but attempted 25 against Richmond. The team will have to be more efficient from the charity stripe, having made just 66.2 percent of its free throws this season, second-worst in the conference. 

Massachusetts is scheduled to take on Saint Joseph’s on March 11 at 5 p.m. 

Rhode Island 

Rhode Island finished the regular season 11-4 in conference play and on a three-game win streak. For just the third time in program history the Rams, who have been a part of the conference since 1980, finished with a winning record in A-10 play. 

A strong fourth quarter was key to the Rams’ win over the Spiders, as the team outscored Richmond 23-9. Rhode Island was led by Emmanuelle Tahane led who tallied 16 points, 14 rebounds and two assists. Marie-Paule Foppossi (15 points), Catherine Cairns (14 points) and Johanna Muzet (12 points) also scored in double figures. 

Rhode Island’s 87-68 win over VCU was historic for multiple reasons. It was the program’s first win over VCU in its history and it was the Rams’ 11th A-10 victory, second-most in program history. 

The Rams dominated in the paint, outscoring VCU 50-34. 

“I’ve never been happier or more proud of a team. That’s the best since I’ve been coaching here that we’ve ever played for 40 minutes both defensively and offensively,” head coach Tammi Reiss said after the game. 

For the Rams to get their first A-10 tournament since the 2015-2016 season the team will need to continue its balanced scoring attack and defensive pressure. The team finished fourth in the standings after being picked 11th in the preseason poll and has the opportunity to exceed expectations even more. 

Rhode Island is scheduled to take on the winner of VCU and Davidson/St. Bonaventure on March 12 at 2 p.m. 

Richmond

Richmond finished the regular season on a two-game losing streak, ending with a conference record of 9-6 and an overall record of 12-8. 

The Spiders have struggled to close out games in the fourth quarter throughout the season, including against Rhode Island. 

“We did a lot of good things for much of the game, but that fourth quarter was a tough one for us. We couldn’t get stops and when we did, we couldn’t finish it on the glass,” said head coach Aaron Roussell. 

A slow third quarter doomed Richmond against Massachusetts. The Minutewomen outscored the Spiders 23-12, a margin that was too much for Richmond to overcome in the fourth quarter. 

In order to have success in the A-10 tournament, Richmond will need to find a way to finish the second half of games and finish around the rim. 

Richmond is scheduled to take on the winner of GW and Mason on March 11 at 8 p.m. 

St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure finished the regular season 6-14 overall and 5-12 in conference play after losses to Saint Joseph’s and La Salle. 

In order to win a game in the conference tournament, the Bonnies will need to get more production out of its bench. The team got just eight points out of its bench in each of its last two regular-season games. The Bonnies have developed a solid scoring core, but have only won with a strong bench showing.   

Rebounding will also be critical for the team, as it averages the second-fewest rebounds per game in the conference. 

St. Bonaventure is scheduled to play Davidson at 1 p.m. on March 10. 

Saint Joseph’s

Saint Joseph’s finished the regular season at 5-9 in conference play and 7-9 overall after wins over St. Bonaventure and Duquesne. 

The Hawks used a fourth-quarter run to push past St. Bonaventure. Over the final 4:30 Saint Joseph’s outscored the Bonnies 12-2.

“I thought the second half really set the tone,” said head coach Cindy Griffin following the win over Duquesne. 

She added, “We were obviously going back and forth in the first two quarters, tied at the half. Holding them to zero points in the third quarter was pretty impressive. Our defense stepped up. We executed when we needed to and got stops when we needed to.”

To get a win in the A-10 tournament Saint Joseph’s will need to rebound consistently. The team outrebounded St. Bonaventure 38-29 and Duquesne 44-32. 

The Hawks are scheduled to take on Massachusetts, who they defeated on Jan. 29, on March 11 at 5 p.m. 

Saint Louis 

Saint Louis improved to 11-3 overall and 9-3 in conference play after a win over Davidson. 

The Billikens made it to the free-throw line 21 times while limiting the Wildcats to just six attempts, something that proved to be the difference in the game.

The team was led by Ciaja Harbison, who had a team-high 14 points and added five rebounds, two assists and one steal. 

Myriama Smith Traore grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds, helping the team outrebound Davidson  54-38. 

The Billikens head into the conference tournament with a seven-game winning streak, the team’s first seven-game winning streak since the 2016-2017 season. 

To reach the goal head coach Lisa Stone set for the team prior to the start of the season, making it to the A-10 conference championship and winning it, the team will need to continue its strong defensive efforts and Harbinson will need to continue to lead the team on the offensive end. 

Saint Louis is scheduled to take on the winner of Richmond and GW/Mason on March 11 at 8 p.m.

VCU

VCU  finished the regular season 10-5 in conference play and 12-10 overall after a win over Massachusetts and a loss to Rhode Island. 

The Rams have found a balanced scoring attack, with six players scoring in double figures across the two finals games of the regular season. With so many scoring threats opposing defenses will have to be on their toes. 

VCU has been known for its strong defense in past seasons, something the team will need to recreate in the conference tournament. 

In the team’s regular-season finale VCU allowed URI to make 68.6 percent of its shots, something the Rams cannot do if they are to make a run deep into the A-10 tournament.  

VCU is scheduled to play the winner of Davidson and St. Bonaventure on March 11 at 2 p.m. 

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.

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