The old adage goes, if you are going to hit someone, you better knock them out.
Fordham tried the first part, the University of Dayton women’s basketball team proved what happens if you don’t follow through on the second part.
“That is the perfect metaphor for our team,” Flyer sophomore Amber Deane said after coming back from an elbow in the face behind the play in the first half to score 15 points, including six during a decisive 17-2 run, to help the Flyers to a 73-64 win over Fordham Sunday afternoon at UD Arena. “We always play with heart as a team and always try to stay positive and keep our heads up.”
The Flyers, playing their third game in eight days, were held to a season low in field goal percentage in a win, 39 percent, but found ways to hang close to the Rams (15-4, 4-2 in the Atlantic 10).
“We are not going to score any style points with that one,” Dayton coach Jim Jabir said after his squad won their 22nd consecutive A-10 game, improved their home winning streak to 21 and improved to 11-4 and 4-0. “They (Fordham) controlled the tempo and that is to their credit. But, we had a really great effort … this group just doesn’t quit.”
Dayton trailed 39-38 at the break, and was behind most of the second half until Deane tied the game at 54-54 with a slicing one-hander in the lane. Deane was fouled on the play and converted the free throw, giving the Flyers their first lead since 45-42 halfway through the second half.
Fordham was able to tie the game at 55-55, but Ally Mallott took over.
Mallott, a game time decision with a deep thigh bruise, started the day 0-for-5 from the floor, but drove the lane for an easy lay-up with 3:52 left.
“I had a couple (that were) two feet in front of the rim early and they bounced off and I thought ‘come on,’ ” Mallott said of her early game woes. “Sometimes you feel like there is a lid on the basket, but being older, you realize you can still do things to be beneficial to the team.”
Mallott hit her last five shots from the floor and closed the door on the Rams with a pair of free throws with 25 ticks left to give the Flyers a nine-point cushion, 73-64.
“When I was younger, I wouldn’t have taken those shots,” Mallott said after finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds. “But we are fortunate because when the starters aren’t productive, the bench can come in; and today, they stepped up big time.”
Especially Jodi Cornelie-Sigmundova.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore had 12 points in the first half as the two teams swapped the lead nine times and were tied four others before Fordham finished with a 8-2 run to take a 39-38 lead at the break.
Dayton hit just 28 percent from 3-point land in the first half (2-of-7) and 48 percent from the floor (17-of-35) while Fordham was on fire, hitting 56 percent from the floor (14-of-25) including 88 percent shooting 3-pointers (7-of-8).
“This (week) has definitely been a grind,” Deane said. “It has been a little brutal. We knew we had to play smart and intense. We know coming in each team is going to give us their best and we have to match their intensity.”
Dayton heads on the road Wednesday, travel to UMass.