The University of Rhode Island women’s basketball team struggled to find their offensive rhythm Sunday afternoon was routed, 67-53, by the University of Dayton in a wire-to-wire victory for the Flyers.
Both teams entered the game trying to drift away from middle of the conference and ascend up the Atlantic 10 standings after erratic starts in conference play. The Flyers (12-9) quickly set the pace when they jumped out to an 11-3 lead. They maintained an 8-point lead in the second quarter until the Rams (11-11), who had missed 18 of their first 20 shots, cut the deficit after a couple of 3-point buckets by junior guard Kallie Banker, making the score 23-20.
However, even with the momentum on their side and a seemingly established perimeter attack, URI was unable to consistently generate offense and soon found themselves trailing by double digits, following a 10-0 run to close out the half.
“Shooting the ball 28 percent against a team that’s fighting to get to the top of the league along with us is not a good combination,” head coach Daynia La-Force said. “I thought we had some open looks. I thought we moved the ball well around the perimeter, but we just couldn’t get our shots to fall tonight.”
Sophomore Charise Wilson awakened in the third after a scoreless first half, landing a trio of 3’s, which kept the Rams in the game momentarily. They once again trimmed a double-digit lead, coming within eight near the close of the quarter before the Flyers went on an 8-0 run that they carried into the fourth quarter to build an insurmountable lead that effectively ended the game.
The loss was the second in three games that saw URI looking stagnant offensively. Dayton’s strong, imposing defense forced the Rams to live beyond the arc, where they went 11-for-36 (30.6 percent). The battle of the paint was dominated by Dayton in all areas, including off the glass, where they outrebounded URI 56-33. Saicha Grant-Allen led the way with 18 boards, which was complemented by her lock-down defense against Samantha Tabakman, whose usual consistent production was sorely missed by the Rams, after a 1-for-9 shooting night.
“I think there size in the post really neutralized her and forced us to be even more of a perimeter team than we wanted to tonight,” La-Force said. “They got a lot of defensive rebounds, but we missed a lot of shots, so I think that’s where the discrepancy is in the rebounding, but if we made some of those shots they’re not a force on the boards as much as they were tonight.”
Tabakman and company will look to right the ship when they visit Duquesne Wednesday night, followed by a home game against George Mason at 2 p.m. on Saturday.