- By John Cummings Contributing Writer
Talk about your going away parties.
The University of Dayton women’s basketball team sent seniors Jenna Burdette, JaVonna Layfield and Alex Harris out in style Sunday with a 79-54 win over Fordham in front of 3,357 on Senior Day at UD Arena.
“This is perfect,” Burdette said as she watched teammates cut down the net.
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The win over Fordham clinched at least a share of the Atlantic 10 title for the second consecutive season.
The win was the 15th straight for the Flyers, tying them for the fourth longest in program history and moving them three from the school record set by the 1980 national championship team.
The win pushed the seniors record to 84-35 with two trips to the NCAA and one to the Elite Eight.
“It came so fast,” Layfield said after recording another double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. “It’s a beautiful thing. I don’t have the words.”
The Flyers, just a month removed from a 63-62 squeaker at Fordham, dominated from the beginning Sunday.
“I just think we were really locked in,” Dayton coach Shauna Green said after her squad improved to 21-4 and 14-0 in the A-10. “We knew what was on the line and they came out on a mission and knocked down the open shots.”
Dayton led 21-16 after the first quarter and 42-30 at half thanks to a 19-3 advantage in fast break points and the hot hand of Lauren Cannatelli and Burdette.
Cannatelli hit five of seven 3-pointers in the first half on her way to 22 points. Burdette finished with 29.
Dayton pushed the lead to 52-32 with 6:24 remaining in the third quarter on a jumper by Jayla Scaife and Fordham never got closer than 15 the rest of the game.
A big reason was the hounding defense on Bre Cavanaugh (12 points) and G’mrice Davis (11 points). Cavanaugh had 36 in the game at Fordham.
“We mad a better emphasis on defense and guarding them,” Cannatelli said. “They were getting frustrated and we could hear them ripping on each other.”
The Flyers have two games remaining before the A-10 tournament, hosting George Mason on Wednesday before traveling to Saint Louis to close out the regular season. They can clinch an outright A-10 title with a win in either gam
“We are continuing to get better,” Layfield said. “Don’t worry about the past, just take care of the business in front of us.
“We are our own worst enemy. No one can stop us but us and we’ve got a lot of confidence and that goal in mind.”
As Green watched the seniors celebrate, she didn’t want to focus on the end of their caeers, which began with a run to the NCAA Elite Eight in the 2014-15 season.
“I don’t want to think about the end too much,” Green said. “We are having too much fun.
“I don’t think you could write it up any better for them to clinch on their home floor. On senior day. Against Fordham. These three seniors have given so much to the program.”