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PAUL closes in Western Market
By Ella Mitchell, Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

Preview: Women’s basketball at Dayton

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Marty Fenn.

What: Women’s Basketball (10-5, 3-0 A-10) at Dayton (8-7, 2-1 A-10)

When: Sunday, January 8 at 3 p.m. EST

Where: UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio

The Colonials have won three straight and are looking to remain undefeated in conference play as they travel to Dayton to take on the Flyers in a high-powered matchup.

The case for the Colonials

GW has held its last two opponents to under 50 points, pummeling Duquesne 75–40 before grinding out a 53-44 victory over Saint Joseph’s at the Smith Center. The Colonials’ staunch defensive efforts are a huge plus as they get set to face the Flyers, who rank second in the Atlantic 10 in scoring with 66.9 points per game.

Perhaps the best sign for the Colonials has been the phenomenal play of graduate senior forward Lexi Martins, who has posted consecutive double-doubles after a 17 point, 11 rebound performance against the Hawks on Wednesday. Martins’ growing scoring presence will force opponents to respect her in the paint and from the perimeter, opening up the floor more for senior forward Caira Washington, who has been the subject of double teams all season.

Dayton has struggled to control the ball, averaging over 16 turnovers per game. This bodes extremely well for the Colonials, who have forced 36 takeaways in the last two games. The versatility of the wing players like seniors Hannah Schaible and Shannon Cranshaw and junior Brianna Cummings has allowed coach Jennifer Rizzotti to work in both big and small lineups, and give the bigs like Washington a breather when needed.

Rizzotti remarked after the Duquesne contest that her players were “fired up” to begin conference play, and the Colonials’ performance in the last two games suggest they are not going to simply give games away. The ability of Martins and Prange to stretch the floor and bring 6-foot-5-inch Dayton forward Saicha Grant-Allen out of the paint will open up possibilities for the Colonials. Expect them to take advantage.

The case for the Flyers

After a rough start to their 2016-2017 campaign, Dayton has rebounded nicely. The Flyers responded to a 3-6 start by winning five of their next six games, including a blowout win over a good Texas A&M team and a thrilling 62-60 nail-biter against St. Bonaventure on Wednesday.

The Flyers can put the ball in the hoop, and have an interesting assortment of weapons. Guard Jenna Burdette was named first team all-conference, and is the Flyers’ leading scorer with 12.5 points per game. Burdette can also distribute the rock and get into the paint, while also being able to knock down the three ball. Backcourt mate Kelley Austria also offers a weapon from beyond the arc, and the Flyers will need to knock down their perimeter shots to have a chance at defeating the Colonials.

The X-factor for Dayton, however, may be Grant-Allen. The 6-foot-5-inch forward was dominant for the Flyers in last year’s matchup… at least for a quarter. Grant-Allen scored six point and had four rebounds early, but foul trouble hampered her for the rest of the game, and the Colonials capitalized on her absence.

Grant-Allen averages 9.8 points 7.2 rebounds per game, but she only plays 26.3 minutes per contest. The Flyers will need her on the floor more, as her presence in the paint could do wonders in opening up the floor for Burdette to create.

The Bottom Line

Dayton has recovered nicely from their sore start, but GW is playing great basketball, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. If Martins continues to find ways to score and the guards control the turnover battle, GW should have enough to come out of Dayton with a win.

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