After the men play George Mason at 2:00, there will be a lull for three hours before the women hit the hardwood in a huge Atlantic 10 game against the Dayton Flyers in a game starting at 7:00 PM. Dayton is currently in first in the A-10 at 7-1 (14-5 overall), and the Dukes trail right behind at 8-2 in the conference in second place.
In the battle of the top 2 Atlantic 10 teams, Dayton will try to pick up their first RPI top 100 win on the road. They’ve done plenty well inside the friendly confines of UD Arena, but on the road the Flyers are 4-5. The matchup breaks down well for the Dukes against the preseason favorite Flyers also even though the Flyers are the more talented (and right now better coached) team.
Breaking Down Dayton:
If there is one thing you think about when looking at the past three years of Dayton teams it’s one thing – TEAM. The Flyers play a very team-oriented game, and everyone knows their role and doesn’t try to do too much. It’s a huge credit to Coach Jim Jabir, and his traits of being hardnosed and team-oriented have reflected on his women. (Note also the job he’s done with the Flyers in taking over a team that was depleted and went 3-25 his first year to getting nationally ranked this year). Jabir’s teams will push the pace constantly and still play terrific top 25 defense in the country. He features an offense built on attacking at all points. Also, the Dukes better play without fouling tonight, as Jabir’s teams always shoot FTs well, and this year four of their starting five are above 80% from the line.
Andrea Hoover (5-9 guard) will start at shooting guard for the Flyers. She exemplifies Dayton’s teams. She’s strong (yes, note that I used physically strong first when talking about a shooting guard), shoots from three well, can create her own shot, and isn’t afraid to drive into traffic and muck it up. Her physical strength makes her a very effective defensive player. She’s as much of a PG as SG naturally, and can distribute well also.
Ally Malott at 6-4 will start at forward for Dayton. A McDonald’s All-American, she was the most heralded recruit in program history. However, her style won’t remind you of a McDonald’s All-American. Even at 6-4, Malott looks to distribute first, score second…once again exemplifying Dayton’s team approach. She’s more lanky than strong at 6-4, and started out her career playing the 3. Malott has a beautiful stroke from outside for someone that is 6-4, and has the green light to fire away from anywhere on the floor. She’s a solid defender who can guard the 3, 4, or 5 all successfully.
Kelley Austria is a 6-0 guard for the Flyers. She’s a very instinctive player, and missed the St. Joe’s game with a concussion. For as uptempo as Jabir likes to play, the game appears to seem slow for Austria. As a freshman last year, the game seemed to come to her and she would respond in a cool, collective, almost calculated manner. Austria once again exemplifies TEAM all the way. She’s constantly making plays for everyone else, and leads the team in assists despite being 6-0. Austria is a solid defender and a very good open shooter.
Amber Deane is a 5-9 guard. She fits the attacking style of Jabir quite nicely, as she’s a slasher who looks to attack. Deane and Austria both missed the game in the road loss at St. Joe’s to injury, so unfortunately I don’t have more on Deane, a sophomore, who I don’t remember much from her freshman year.
Cassie Sant, a 6-3 senior center, is the fifth starter for the Flyers. Coming out of high school, Sant was the #11 rated post player in the country the class of 2010 by ESPN. Sant elected to stay local and choose Dayton over many big names, as did Malott, Austria, and Hoover, all Ohio natives. Sant shows great passing skills and ball control for a big. She uses her body well to screen defenders, and can both run the floor and muck it up. Her strength and excellent footwork inside make her an excellent defender, and she’s always in position for boards.
Quick Matchup Breakdown:
It’s a decent matchup for the Dukes. Dayton’s three-guard approach matches what the Dukes like to put out in Robinson – Bresnahan – Moore – Szecsi – Agunbiade. The Flyers strength and relative lackof quickness for a team that loves to go uptempo as much as the Flyers to fits perfectly into Burt’s system also. Burt’s teams have also struggled oftentimes containing the one superstar while defending well as a team. For a team that attacks as much as Dayton does, they don’t seem to get to the line that often. That also plays into DU’s hands, as Burt has coached extremely well the ability to play defense under the new rules without fouling. Combine that with Dayton’s aforementioned road struggles and it should be a close, hardfought game.
Hoover-Deane vs. Robinson-Bresnahan: Likely a push, perhaps slight edge to DU.
Austria vs. Moore: Not really a good matchup for Raegan on the offensive end, but a very good one on the defensive end as it’s the type of player Raegan defends well. Probably not a lot of points for either player.
Mallot vs. Szecsi: Will be a very fun battle. Perhaps the A-10s two most athletic players both squaring off against each other. Depends on which Orsi shows up, much the way the men’s fans are used to good Ovie vs. bad Ovie the women’s fans have seen good Orsi vs. bad Orsi.
Sant vs. Agunbiade. This may be a bit of an issue for Dukes fans. Wumi has struggled with taller players than her in the past, particularly if they’re talented like Sant is. The good thing is Sant has struggled against the types of players that have as good of footwork and fundamentals as Wumi. Probably a push, with both players struggling.
Looking at the matchups, it appears to be a low-scoring game even if it is up-and-down. Expect some fun in the Palumbo Center tonight.
Prediction: The Flyers are much more talented overall I believe, and even with a decent matchup and the (hopeful) home court advantage of the Palumbo Center I’ll still take the Flyers by 3.