The Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team has figured out the best way to deal with a winning streak.
“We try not to think about it,” said redshirt senior forward Alex Harris. “One at a time. Just keep rolling.”
The roll continued Wednesday. Dayton extended its unbeaten streak in the Atlantic 10 to 10-0 and won its 11th straight game overall, beating Duquesne 79-70 at UD Arena.
With six games remaining before the conference tournament, the Flyers (17-4, 10-0) have a 1½-game lead over Duquesne (18-4, 8-1) and a two-game lead over Fordham (17-6, 8-2). Dayton already has a 63-62 road victory over Fordham and plays the Rams at home Feb. 18. It doesn’t play Duquesne again in the regular season. That’s another reason this game was so important.
“Obviously it was a big game,” Dayton coach Shauna Green said. “We have to take care of our home court.”
» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Duquesne
The victory moved the Flyers from No. 51 to No. 39 in the RPI. Here are four reasons they won:
1. Big production: JaVonna Layfield had 18 points and 17 rebounds. It was her 11th double-double of the season.
“Every single night, she’s been getting a crazy amount of rebounds,” Green said. “Her energy, her passion, it’s huge for us. It sets the tone. We’re playing small a lot this year. We’re not as big as we were, but we’re trying to utilize her at the four to mismatch. That’s why we’re really attacking. She’s getting a lot more chances going ot the rim, and defensively she’s just been great.”
2. Free throws: Dayton made 22 of 25 free throws (88 percent) and 8 of 8 in the last minute. That helped prevent Duquesne from getting any closer than six points. Jenna Burdette, who scored 18 points, made 10 of 10 free throws.
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Dayton, which shoots 71.8 percent at the line, has shot 20 or more free throws four times during its winning streak.
“That’s huge,” Green said. “Coming into this game, we had three things, and one of them was winning the battle in the paint and being aggressive and being in attack mode. I thought at times we started settling for jump shots, and I was not happy with that. We’ve got to make them guard, and we let them off the hook a couple times with settling.”
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3. Consistent scorer: Jayla Scaife scored 16 points. She has scored in double figures nine games in a row. She had five points in the first quarter as Dayton took a 20-9 lead.
“She’s been playing at a high level,” Green said. “She’s a completely different player, and she has confidence. She has the ability to hit that mid-range jump shot and rise up over people. Her 3’s going a little bit better, and defensively she’s very active. Her improvement and her growth and her confidence has been a huge part (of the team’s success). Now you have to worry about every person out there. They can all score, and they’re all threats in separate ways. That’s been our M.O. this year. It’s been someone different every night.”
4. Defensive plan: Dayton held one of Duquesne’s top players, Chassidy Omogrosso, who averages 16.3 points per game, to six points on 2-of-7 shooting.
“I thought defensively we were pretty good with our game plan,” Green said, “and executing that and taking Omogrosso out. We were really aggressive.”