PHILADELPHIA, Pa. 3/5/12 – There are times when a championship is won not only by talent. It may take grit and determination. That was the winning formula for the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team. The Flyers won a down to the wire semifinal game against second seeded Temple. Dayton did it again as they defeat top seeded St. Bonaventure Bonnies 56 – 53 to take the Atlantic 10 Women’s Tournament championship at the Hagan Arena on the campus of Saint Joseph’s University. With the tournament title comes an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the Flyers. Dayton coach Jim Jabir credits team’s heart for the ability to win.
“We don’t quit,” Jabir said. “We are blessed to have a group led by great seniors who helped build this program. They just don’t quit.”
Dayton also got 13 points and 8 rebounds from Justine Raterman who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
Dayton had to withstand another furious charge at the end of the game. The Flyers opened an early 27 – 5 lead with 7:20 to play in the first half. It was the largest deficit the Bonnies have faced this season. St. Bonaventure slowly began their come back getting to within 27 – 17 a t halftime. Dayton played well defensively holding St. Bonaventure to 8 of 27 shooting (29.6%) and missed all six of their three-point shots. Leading Bonnies scorers Megan Van Tatenhove and Jessica Jenkins had a combined 2 points at halftime.
“We were tight at the beginning of the game.” said St. Bonaventure Coach Jim Crowley. “We dug too deep of a hole. We did give ourselves a chance to win the game.”
In the second half St. Bonaventure kept grinding away.
They held Dayton to one field goal in a twelve and a half minute stretch. Eventually St. Bonaventure took the lead at 51 – 50 with 2:16 to play. Dayton showed their resiliency by taking the lead back on two free throws by guard Patrice Lalor. A layup by guard Andrea Hoover gave Dayton some breathing room at 54 – 51 with 23 seconds on the clock. St. Bonaventure does not understand the word quit as well. Guard Cece Dixon cut the gap to 54 – 53 at the 11 second mark. Dayton inbounded the ball to Hoover who was able to break free down the sideline, and was fouled with 8 seconds left. Hoover calmly sank both free throws for the final margin. Still, the Bonnies had a last shot. Jenkins let a three-pointer fly that hit the back of the rim and bounced away. Dayton had their long-awaited title.
“This is huge,” said Raterman. “It’s been on our list of goals. We’ve taken steps every year. This is something we’ve worked for and to reach it is not real yet. I can’t put it into words.”
A determining factor in the game was that Dayton caused 19 St. Bonaventure turnovers. That led to a 19 – 5 edge for Dayton in points off turnovers. St. Bonaventure was the number one team in the league in least amount of turnovers.
Dayton got 11 points and 4 assists from guard Patrice Lalor. She was also a steady ball handler down the stretch for the Flyers. Nine players scored for Dayton showing great balance.
Forward Doris Ortega led St. Bonaventure with 18 points and 12 rebounds. It was her first career double-double. Van Tatenhove and Jenkins were held to 9 points each.
The Flyers had two wins that were not decided until the end of the game against the number one and number two seeds in two successive days. Dayton earned this Atlantic 10 Championship.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
Atlantic 10 All-Tournament Team
Justine Raterman – Dayton Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Patrice Lalor – Dayton
Megan Van Tatenhove – St. Bonaventure
Shey Peddy – Temple
Michelle Baker – Saint Joseph’s
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