Published: Saturday, March 03, 2018 @ 3:41 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 03, 2018 @ 3:42 PM
By: David Driver - Contributing Writer
RICHMOND, Va. — The entry pass from Dayton guard Jenna Burdette was low to the ground and slipped through the hands of Alex Harris, a post player for the Flyers.
The ball rolled out of bounds with 18 seconds left in the game Saturday, and with it most likely the chance for UD to repeat as Atlantic 10 Conference tournament champions.
Burdette would score a few seconds later after a GW free throw, but the No. 5 seed Colonials made 11 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter to stun the top-seeded Flyers 58-53 in the tournament semifinals at the Richmond Coliseum.
The game had eight lead changes and GW had just one turnover, while UD trailed at halftime for the first time since a Dec. 6 loss to Green Bay.
GW advances to the title game while UD will wait to see if it gains an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
“Our body of work has to speak for itself. I think we deserve to be in,” said UD’s Shauna Green, who won the title in 2017 in her first year as the Flyers head coach.
The turnover in the final seconds culminated a tough day for Burdette, the all-conference guard who missed 10 of her first 12 shots and finished with 11 points on 5 of 18 shots from the field. She combined for 29 points in a pair of regular-season wins over GW.
“They are really physical with her,” Green said of Burdette. “I have to step back and realize we are so use to her making those shots. … The girl has played 40 minutes a game all year and nearly her entire career.”
Jayla Scaife had 12 points and eight rebounds for UD, JaVonna Layfield had 10 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out in the final minute and Lauren Cannatelli had 10 points.
UD made just 32.7 percent of its shots from the field, including just 4 of 16 from 3-point range. The Flyers had 11 turnovers.
“I think we just had a couple of lapses” on defense, Harris said.
“Energy is something we always talk about,” Burdette said. “Today was just not that day. We just didn’t execute.”
Kelsi Mahoney made a 3-pointer as GW built the lead to 47-40 with 4:05 remaining. She made another 3-pointer with 2:00 left as the Colonials took a 50-44 advantage.
Scaife made one free throw with 56.4 seconds to go to trim the margin to 50-47.
GW’s Mei-Lyn Bautista hit two free throws to push the lead to five with 38.6 seconds to go.
Burdette hit a driving, lefty layup in traffic to trim the margin to 53-51 with 23.2 seconds remaining. But the Colonials hit five free downs the rest of the way to ice the win.
Brianna Cummings had 10 of her 15 points in the first half to lead GW.
GW head coach Jennifer Rizzotti, a former All-American at UConn, said UD deserves an at-large bid.
“We had to play well to beat Dayton today,” she said.
The Flyers won the conference tourney title last year under Green, in her first season. Green said the feeling in the locker rom Saturday eminded her of 2015, when as an assistant coach with UD the Flyers lost in the tourney title game to George Washington.
“It was back and forth the entire game. We couldn’t hit shots we normally hit,” Green said of the Saturday loss. “We wanted to be playing tomorrow. It is really, really hard to win this thing. We are going to regroup and get back at it.”