Atlantic 10 Notebook: Season-high 13 teams take the floor

Aaron Roussell's Spiders go up the victory spout

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As Atlantic 10 play got into full swing, 13 of the conference’s 14 teams took the floor last week, a season-high. All 14 teams are scheduled to play next week for the first time this season. 

Several players stepped up last weekend including Tess Myers, Kate Hill, Addie Budnik and Lovin Marsicano. Let’s take a closer look around the league:

Davidson

Davidson fell to 3-2 in conference play and 6-5 overall after losses to Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 

The Wildcats struggled from behind the arc in both matchups, shooting 25 percent from against the Minutewomen and 24 percent against the Rams from deep. 

Rhode Island forced Davidson to play at its pace, and the Wildcats struggled to find and maintain a rhythm throughout the game. Only Suzi-Rose Deegan scored more than six points, and the Wildcats will need to have more balanced scoring if they are to get back to their winning ways. 

Davidson is scheduled to travel to Dayton and Saint Louis on Jan. 14 and Jan. 16 respectively. 

Dayton 

Dayton improved to 4-0 in conference play and 5-1 overall with wins over Mason and GW. 

The team’s depth has proven incredibly important for the Flyers so far, especially in the new format when two games in three days is the norm. Ten players scored for Dayton against George Mason and nine scored against George Washington. 

After defeating the Colonials head coach Shauna Green said, “We had different people step up again. That’s what this team is about. We are deep and we are just going to continue to learn. We still have a lot of young guys playing, and we are learning game-by-game, possession-by-possession. We are really happy with coming away on a tough first road swing in the conference and getting two wins, we will take that.” 

Green called her team unique before the season started, noting that while the team has three 5th year seniors, half the team had not played a college basketball game before November. This combination has worked for Dayton so far this season, with both experienced players and newcomers contributing when called upon. For the team to continue finding success this formula will need to continue. 

The Flyers are currently scheduled to host Davidson and Fordham on Jan. 14 and Jan. 16 respectively. 

Duquesne

Duquesne fell to 1-3 in conference play and 2-6 overall after close losses to VCU and Richmond. 

Freshman Tess Myers stepped up for the Dukes against the Rams, she exploded for 20 points, four rebounds, four assists and one steal. Freshman Megan McConnell had a career-high 18 points as well as six rebounds and six assists against the Spiders. 

With injuries impacting the team’s seniors, young players like Myers and McConnell will need to continue to step up.   

While Duquesne has struggled so far this season, there is good news for the program regarding Libby Bazelak’s return, though Amanda Kalin’s injury is significant. 

The Dukes are scheduled to host Saint Joseph’s and La Salle on Jan. 15 and Jan. 17 respectively.  

Fordham

Fordham split the weekend with a win over Rhode Island and a loss to Massachusetts. 

While the Rams committed just 11 fouls against Rhode Island, the team committed a season-high 24 against Massachusetts. Fordham has had 22 or more fouls in each of its three losses this season, and 16 or fewer in each of its six wins. It will be key for the team to keep fouls low in order to win. 

Against Massachusetts, a seven-point third quarter proved to be the difference for the Rams, who were outscored 61-56 by the Minutewomen overall. Fordham also shot a season-low 30.8 percent against Massachusetts. All three of the team’s losses have come when shooting less than 36 percent from the floor. 

The Rams are scheduled to travel to Dayton on Jan. 16. 

George Mason 

Mason fell to 0-3 in A-10 play and 3-7 overall after a loss to Dayton on Friday night. 

The Patriots once again scored fewer than 40 points, for the second time in conference play and fourth time in the last six games. 

Head coach Nyla Milleson does not have an answer to her team’s shooting struggles. After Friday night’s game, she said, “We've been doing two-a-day practices, lots and lots and lots of shooting. Our inside game is just very inexperienced and/or very undersized. We're missing Cam[arie] Gatling in a big way right now, really missing Cam Gatling in a big way. We just got to keep working.” 

While Mason has many players that can score and score in volumes, just six players got on the board against Dayton, something that will need to change before Mason earns its first conference win. 

The Patriots are scheduled to travel to VCU on Jan. 13 and host GW on Jan. 17.  

George Washington

GW fell to 3-6 overall and 0-3 in conference play after a loss to Dayton on Sunday afternoon. 

Neila Luma has provided a solid foundation for the Colonials this season, averaging 10.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. She totaled 12 points and six rebounds against Dayton, leading the team in both categories. 

GW has struggled to get to the line at times this season, including against the Flyers. The Colonials had just 10 free throw attempts, making 7 of them. 

The Colonials are scheduled to travel to Richmond and Mason on Jan. 13 and Jan. 17 respectively.  

La Salle 

After splitting two weekend matchups against Saint Joseph’s, La Salle improved to 1-3 in conference play and 4-6 overall. 

After struggling offensively on Friday night, posting just 36 points, the Explorers exploded for 81 points Sunday night. Claire Jacobs led the team once again with 21 points and nine rebounds while senior Kate Hill added a career-high 15 points and a season-high seven assists and knocked down three three-pointers.   

The team turned around a 1-19 three-point shooting night on Friday and went 7-21 from beyond the arc Sunday afternoon. 

La Salle is scheduled to finish nonconference play with Drexel on Jan. 13 and will travel to take on St. Bonaventure and Duquesne on Jan. 15 and Jan. 17. 

Massachusetts

Massachusetts improved to 4-1 in conference play and 8-2 overall after wins against Davidson and Fordham and a loss to Rhode Island. 

After struggling offensively against Rhode Island, the team tallied more than 60 points in both of its weekend matchups. 

Sydney Taylor exploded for a career-high 27 points against Davidson. Taylor is one of three Minutewomen that averages in double figures, as well as Destiney Philoxy and Sam Breen. The team’s versatile scoring threats have helped the team reach its impressive record early in conference play. 

The Minutewomen are scheduled to travel to VCU and Richmond on Jan. 15 and Jan. 17 respectively. 

Rhode Island 

Rhode Island improved to 3-2 in conference play at 3-5 overall after wins against Massachusetts and Davidson and a loss to Fordham.  

The Rams came back from a 13-point deficit against Massachusetts in the conference’s biggest upset of the season on Jan. 5. Emmanuelle Tahane hit what would be a game-sealing layup with 1:11 remaining in the game to put Rhode Island up 48-47. 

The team has struggled to defend the three all season and its opponents average 7.6 threes per game. Rhode Island was unable to stop Fordham’s three-point shooting as the team went 11-21. To continue winning games the Rams will need to work on their three-point defense. 

Four Rams scored in double figures against Davidson and the team’s balanced scoring paid off with an 18-point win. Rhode Island has five players that average at least eight points a game and the versatile scoring attack has led the team to its best conference start through five games since the 2014-2015 season. 

The Rams currently scheduled to travel to Richmond and VCU on Jan. 15 and Jan. 17 respectively. 

Richmond

Richmond improved to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in conference play after close wins against St. Bonaventure and Duquesne to start its 2021 campaign. 

The team was able to hold off St. Bonaventure’s attempted fourth-quarter comeback after freshman Grace Townsend hit a layup with 38 seconds left in the game. 

“This one will make us a better team down the stretch, we survived some foul trouble and remember we haven't played in a while, really only twice in the last 33 days. To get this one was huge,” said head coach Aaron Roussell. 

Townsend helped secure the victory Sunday afternoon as well, grabbing a loose ball and the game’s final rebound in the last minute of the game. It was freshman Addie Budnik who filled the stat sheet, with 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and four blocks. 

Despite the issues Richmond faced during the game, it was able to pull out wins in two close games, a skill that will serve the team well as the season goes on.  

The Spiders are currently scheduled to host GW, Rhode Island and UMass on Jan. 13, Jan. 15 and Jan. 17 respectively. 

St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure fell to 0-4 in conference play and 1-6 overall after losses to Richmond and VCU. 

Tori Harris and Asianae Johnson once again led the Bonnies this weekend. Against Richmond, Harris had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Johnson had 18 points and six rebounds. Against VCU Harris had 18 points and six rebounds while Johnson had 15 points, two rebounds and two assists. 

Against VCU, St. Bonaventure committed 25 fouls and made just 9 of the team’s 16 free throw attempts. Reducing fouls and improving free throw shooting may help the team earn its first conference win of the season. 

The Bonnies are scheduled to host La Salle and Saint Joseph’s on Jan. 15 and Jan. 17 respectively. 

Saint Joseph’s

Saint Joseph’s improved to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play after splitting a weekend series against La Salle. 

After a strong defensive appearance on Friday afternoon, the Hawks struggled to contain La Salle’s offense on Sunday. Saint Joseph’s was able to contain the Explorers’ three-point attack in the first game but were unable to in the second matchup in 48 hours. 

Several Hawks stepped up last weekend including Lovin Marsicano who scored a career-high 15 points Friday afternoon, including making 3 of 4 attempted threes, and added five rebounds, two assists, three blocks and two steals.  Jaden Walker scored a career-high 14 points Sunday afternoon and added four assists and three blocks as well. Kaliah Henderson matched a career-high with 14 points on Friday afternoon while adding seven rebounds and three steals. 

Getting more players involved in scoring will help Saint Joseph’s open up its offense and be harder to defend. 

The Hawks are currently scheduled to travel to Duquesne and St. Bonaventure on Jan. 15 and Jan. 17. 

Saint Louis 

Saint Louis’ program remains on pause and its games against Mason and GW were postponed. As of Jan. 11, its game against Fordham on Jan. 14 is also postponed, though the program’s game against Davidson on Jan. 16 is still scheduled to be played. 

VCU

VCU improved to 3-0 in conference play and 5-5 overall with wins over St. Bonaventure and Duquesne. 

The team’s balanced scoring helped the Rams secure both close wins last weekend. Against St. Bonaventure, Tera Reed scored 16 points and added eight rebounds and five assists, Sydnei Archie had 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals, Taya Robinson had 11 points, nine rebounds and three steals and Sarah Te-Biasu had 16 points. 

The Rams struggled behind the arc last week, shooting less than 27 percent in both games, improving this will help the team open up the floor. 

VCU is scheduled to host Mason, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island on Jan. 13, Jan. 15 and Jan. 17 respectively.