March 12. 2021 –
The #8 La Salle Explorers took the court against the tournament top seeded Dayton Flyers who got the ball inside and defensively limited the Explorers outside shooting and came way with an 85 – 70 win in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship.
“We came in here with a game plan that we thought was going to be able to come away with a win,” said La Salle Coach Mountain MacGillivray. “They countered it. They did a good job of passing out of the double teams and making some plays. We needed to shoot well from beyond the arc and we struggled today. A lot of that credit goes to them.’
Twice La Salle got to within four points in the third quarter, but could not sustain the momentum.
The Flyers got off to a quick start leading by 12 points after one quarter. The Explorers fought back to get to within 7 at halftime, but could not overtake the one-seed. The ball found its way inside for Dayton who scored 52 points in the paint shooting 47.9% overall. UD did not shoot well from three-point land, but made 30 of 49 (61%) from inside the arc to take control. Meanwhile, the Explorers could not get untracked from distance making 9 of 38 (23.7%).
Rebounding was a big difference as the Flyers had a 52 – 35 advantage. Dayton had 19 off the offensive glass. La Salle had 13 offensive boards which turned into 13 second chance points.
“Knowing Dayton is a physical team and vertically gifted, so it’s very hard to try to box them out when they’re bigger and stronger,” said La Salle guard Kayla Spruill. “The fact that our whole team had fight and we were still going at them as if they were the same size as us, we did all we could do.”
Four La Salle players broke double-digit scoring led by Spruill getting 17 points and 7 rebounds. Molly Masciantonio contributed 15 points and came away with 4 steals. Haleigh Hill added 11 points and Amy Jacobs tallied 10. Kate Hill led the team with 5 assists and only 1 turnover.
Three Flyers pulled down double-digit rebounds Kyla Whitehead topped the team with 11 caroms, 8 on the offensive end. Araion Bradshaw and Tenin Magassa each grabbed 10 boards. Jenna Giacone led Dayton in scoring 17 points assisting 5 times. Magassa got 16 points, blocking 4 shots, while Whitehead contributed 14. Bradshaw handed out a game-high 6 assists.
The season ends for the Explorers. The team won its first tournament game in the MacGillivray era. The the taste of success will fuel a fire for more.
“Last night when we were doing our film session seeing our team dialed in, taking notes, asking questions, it was a total different feel than in preparing for games before,” MacGillivray said. “Because they had the taste of that playoff victory. They really wanted to go out there and make it happen. I think they know they are capable of greater things. And I hope there is a carry over.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian