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Women’s Basketball: Tennessee ‘just another team’ to Dayton

Published: Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 7:05 PM
Updated: Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 7:05 PM

With their schedule getting tougher each year, the Dayton women’s basketball players have learned to take games against power-five conference teams in stride.

And it’s no different as they enter the NCAA Tournament on Saturday against traditional juggernaut Tennessee.

“We are just going to focus on what we can do. They are just another team,” guard JaVonna Layfield said Friday before practice at the KFC Yum! Center. “We can’t get caught up in all of that.”

The Flyers, 22-9, put that focus to the test today at 4 p.m. Host Louisville and Chattanooga play at 1:30. The winners meet Monday for a chance at the Sweet 16.

“Every team you play is great,” Dayton coach Shauna Green said. “You have to approach things with the right mindset. I think our schedule prepared us.”

Here are five things to watch today:

1. Common opponent

The Flyers and Volunteers each played Texas A&M. The Flyers defeated the Aggies 74-47 in a holiday tournament in Florida on Dec. 20. Tennessee lost to the Aggies 61-59 on Feb. 12.

“Obviously A&M is a completely different style than we are,” Green said. “We know we are going to have to be as sharp as possible to win the basketball game.”

2. Get it and go

Dayton likes to get the rebound and run. The Flyers average 66.1 points while Tennessee averages 73.9, but the Volunteers have allowed teams to shoot 39 percent from the floor.

“It comes down to defense and rebounding,” Green said. “I think we play at a faster pace. We like to get out and run and try to get some easy baskets in transition.”

3. Battle of the boards

The Flyers average 42 rebounds to 41 for their opponents. Post play will be big.

Dayton has seniors Saicha Grant-Allen (6-foot-5) and Andrijana Cvitikovic (6-3) along with freshman Alex Harris (6-1) in the post. Tennessee counters with Mercedes Russell (6-6) and also features Diamond DeShields (6-1), daughter of former major leaguer Delino DeShields, now the manager of the Reds’ Class AAA team in Louisville.

“I would say I enjoy playing against shot blockers,” Russell said. “I know Dayton has a couple of posts that like to block shots and I think that is always a fun, challenging game.”

4. On a roll

Dayton enters having won 19 of its last 22 games, claiming the Atlantic 10 regular-season and conference tournament titles.

Tennessee dropped its opener in the Southeastern Conference tournament 72-64 to Alabama and is 6-4 in its final 10 games heading into the tournament.

5. Depth and pace

Dayton has 10 players that who average 10 or more minutes while Tennessee has six.

“We have to use our strengths,” Green said. “(Rotating players in) is something we have done all year and we like to play with a lot of pace and I think our depth helps us. Hit or miss, we want to have the ball down the floor and a shot up in six seconds or less. That’s who we are.”

SATURDAY’S GAME

NCAA women’s tournament, first round

No. 12 Dayton vs. No. 5 Tennessee, 4 p.m., ESPN2

Sidney football standout commits to Big Ten school

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 8:34 PM

Sidney’s Isaiah Bowser runs during a GWOC American North game last season at Sidney Memorial Stadium. Contributed Photo by Bryant Billing

Sidney High School running back/safety Isaiah Bowser is headed to the Big Ten.

The Yellowjackets’ senior-to-be on Friday gave a verbal commitment to play college football at Northwestern University.

Bowser made the announcement on his Twitter account.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder led the Greater Western Ohio Conference — all divisions — in rushing last season with 1,877 yards in 10 games. Bowser averaged 6.3 yards per carry while totaling 28 touchdowns on the ground. He rushed for 200-plus yards in five games and scored four or more touchdowns in five games.

On defense, he had one interception, which he returned 67 yards for a TD.

Bowser is the 41st-ranked prospect in the Class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite.

Reds bullpen can’t save Castillo’s win

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 2:14 AM
Updated: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 2:14 AM

One would think that if a team scores four runs in the first inning against Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, that team would win.

One would be wrong.

One would think that if the game came down to a battle between bullpens, the worst (Washington) versus one of he best (Cincinnati Res), the best bullpen would win.

One would be wrong.

THAT’S THE WAY IT went Friday night when the Cincinnati Reds lost yet again, this time by 6-5 in 10 innings to Dusty Baker’s Washington Nationals.

The game ended when Bryce Harper, facing Raisel Iglesias with two outs, two on and a 3-and-2 count, drilled the ball off the right field wall to end it abruptly.

But a whole lot happened leading up to that moment.

STRASBURG, ONE OF BASEBALL’S best, brought an 8-and-2 record into the game but the Reds scored four runs on five hits in the top of the first.

And they added a fifth run in the third inning to give rookie Luis Castillo a 5-1 lead.

Castillo, called up from Double-A Pensacola, survived five walks in five innings, including walking the bases loaded in one inning. He gave up two runs and five hits as the 11th different pitcher to start a game for the Reds this season and the sixth rookie.

He turned a 5-2 lead over to the bullpen. But a tiring bullpen couldn’t preserve a win for him.

MICHAEL LORENZEN GAVE UP two runs, Wandy Peralta gave up the tying run and Iglesias, after retiring the first two batters in the 10th on strikeouts, gave up three straight hits to lose it.

And that worst bullpen?

Well, four members of the Nationals bullpen gave up no runs and one hit over the last five innings to assure the Reds would lose for the 12th time in their last 13 games.

Remember last year when members of the Reds bullpen had a penchant for giving up home runs to the first batter they faced?

It’s back.

BOTH LORENEN AND PERALTA gave up home runs to the first batter they faced. And Lorenzen gave up a home run in Tampa Bay to the first batter he faced in his previous appearance.

Lorenzen replaced Castillo in the sixth and the first batter he faced, Daniel Murphy, homered down the right field line to cut the lead to 5-3. Lorenzen then walked the next hitter, Anthony Rendon, on a full count and the third hitter, Matt Wieters, singled.

After a sacrifice bunt, pinch-hitter Stephen Drew hit a sacrifice fly to the left field wall and it was 5-4.

Peralta came on to pitch the eighth and the first batter, Brian Goodwin hit his second home run of the game — two of the four the Nationals hit — and it was 5-5.

IGLESIAS RENDERED BOTH Ryan Raburn and pinch-hitter Michael Taylor helpless to start the 10th, striking out both.

Trea Turner dropped a single into shallow right field and took third on Goodwin’s single to right.

When Harper came to the plate the Nationals were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Harper remedied that as the Nationals came from behind to win for the 19th time this season.

BILLY HAMILTON, 0 for 18, STRUCK out to start the game. Then the Reds performer a merry-go-round against Strasburg.

Scooter Gennett clobbered his 10th home run. Joey Votto singled and Adam Duvall doubled. Eugenio Suarez walked to load the bases. Scott Schebler hit a sacrifice fly, Devin Mesoraco singled for a third run and Jose Peraza singled to make it 4-0.

Goodwin hit his first home run of the game in the bottom of the first against one of Castillo’s searing fastballs. His fastball was between 97 and 100 for all five innings.

MESOACO, WHO WAS ON base four straight times with two singles and two hit by pitches, singled in a run in the third for a 5-1 Reds lead and the offense was finished.

“Our inability to put some add-on runs on the board really hurt,” manager Bryan Price told writers after the game. “That’s one that was just sitting there for us to win. We weren’t able to get it done.”

Anthony Rendon homered in the fourth, a 454-foot rip, to start the Nationals comeback and the Reds have given up home runs in 16 straight games, one game shy of the club record.

Homer Bailey makes his 2017 debut Saturday afternoon after undergoing elbow surgery in February. He posted a 1.08 earned run average in three minor-league rehab starts.

Six-run sixth propels Dragons past Captains

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:59 PM


            Jose Siri slides into second base against Lake County on Friday during the Dragons’ 8-3 Midwest League win at Fifth Third Field. Siri homered in the game. NICK FALZERANO / CONTRIBUTED

The Dragons have been in a hitting slump through June but breathed fire into their bats Friday night against Lake County. Dayton had 12 hits in an 8-3 win over the Captains, five of which came during a six-run sixth inning.

It was a welcome change for Dragons fans, especially against Lake County. Though the Dragons (42-30) were among the Midwest League’s best teams in the first half of the season, they were 2-3 against Lake County and winless against the Captains at Fifth Third Field.

Dayton had batted .210 in its previous 12 games before Friday and was hitting .224 in June, the second-worst batting average of ML teams.

The Dragons hit early and often on Friday, though. Jose Siri led off the bottom of the first with a home run to right field, and Taylor Trammell hit a homer to right two batters later.

Game changer: Gavin Collins hit a 416-foot home run to left field in the sixth to put Lake County ahead 3-2, but Dayton retook the lead in the bottom half.

The Dragons loaded the bases on a walk and two singles. Lake County pitcher Ryan Colegate threw a fastball by catcher Logan Ice and into the backstop, which allowed Bruce Yari to score from third. Colegate then hit Siri on the shoulder to load the bases again.

Michael Beltre batted in a run on a hard infield grounder to give Dayton a 4-3 lead, and Colegate was removed and replaced with Alsis Herrera.

Herrera did no better. Tyler Stephenson hit a single that scored two runs in part due to a Lake County throwing error, and John Sansone followed with a two-RBI single to increase the lead to 8-3.

Dragons tales: Siri’s first-inning home run was his sixth over the last 25 games, during which time he has hit .356. He was 2-for-4 Friday.

• Yari is hitting .400 over the last six games. Yari, the designated hitter Friday, singled in the fourth and walked in the sixth. His batting average is .278.

• Newcomers Kevin Franklin and Malik Collymore have had a rough start in the Dragons lineup after joining the team earlier this week from extended spring training. Franklin is hitless through nine at-bats over two games. Collymore didn’t bat in Thursday’s loss and was 1-for-4 Friday.

On deck: The Dragons and Captains return to Fifth Third Field on Saturday for the third game of a four-game series. Left-handed pitcher Wennington Romero (3-3, 4.15 ERA) starts for the Dragons opposite Luis Jimenez (0-2, 6.16). Romero hasn’t won since May 5. In his last eight games, he’s been credited with three losses and five no-decisions.

Source says Horizon League has invited IUPUI as 10th member

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 9:11 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - DECEMBER 7: T.J. Henderson #1 of the IUPUI Jaguars dribbles the ball against Johnny Hill #1 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on December 7, 2015 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue defeated IUPUI 80-53. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

The Horizon League has extended an invitation to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, a league source confirmed to the Dayton Daily News.

HL commissioner Jon LeCrone declined to name the school but confirmed the board of directors voted last Friday to extend an invitation to a single member school and that he expects that invitation to be accepted shortly.

“We most likely will be 10 members for this coming year, 17-18,” LeCrone said. “It’s not been finely executed, but that is way more likely than not likely.”

The HL is looking to replace Valparaiso, which departed for the Missouri Valley Conference last month.

And while IUPUI doesn’t have the basketball clout LeCrone said would be a focus in its plan to not only replace Valpo, but expand to 12 or 14 members — having not had a winning season since 2010-11 while making just once career NCAA tournament appearance in 2003 — the school is an ideal geographic fit.

In addition to sitting 1.5 miles from the league office in downtown Indianapolis, IUPUI would be a natural replacement for Valpo as the travel partner for Illinois-Chicago.

›› RELATED: WSU basketball facing big changes second year in a row

LeCrone said he spoke with league athletic directors Friday to look at scheduling models for both a nine-team and 10-team league. Because IUPUI does not have varsity baseball, a nine-team schedule would be in play for that sport while a 10-team slate would be used in the others.

LeCrone added that if any member schools have already signed nonleague deals to replace the two games lost by Valparaiso’s depature, the league will provide financial assistance to help break those contracts should IUPUI be accepted, as expected, in time for the 2017-18 season.

“The way our process works, these memberships decisions in terms of coming into our league, are really driven by the candidate more than they’re driven by the league,” LeCrone said. “We have not yet completed that process, but it’s underway.”

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Shortly after Valparaiso announced its move to the MVC, LeCrone said the HL has been in numerous conversations over the last two years about expansion by adding schools that would grow the league’s footprint to the east, south, southeast, southwest and west.

And LeCrone said he expects those efforts to ramp up shortly.

“Our board, with good advice from our ADs, really drives membership, and I think there’s a desire among both the ADs and this particular board that we would grow larger than 10,” he said. “After we see what happens in the next few weeks with our 10th, I certainly think therer would be some energy around going to 12.”

Wright State and IUPUI have some shared history with the men’s basketball teams playing 11 times, nine of which resulted in WSU wins. And Raiders coached Scott Nagy is familiar with IUPUI after facing the Jaguars at least twice a year for his final nine seasons at South Dakota State when both schools were members of the Summit League.

Also, IUPUI athletic director Dr. Roderick Perry worked at Wright State from 2001-07, rising from academic advisor to associate athletic director, after earning his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Dayton.