RICHMOND, Va. - Second Team All-Atlantic 10 guard Jenna Burdette scored 13 of her game-high 23 points in the third period as top-seeded Dayton rode hot outside shooting to a 77-61 victory over No. 8 VCU in the first quarterfinal of the 2017 Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Championship at the Richmond (Va) Coliseum Friday afternoon.
The Flyers (20-9) shot 57 percent (8 of 14) from three-point range and 50 percent total from the floor to lead the game for all but 23 seconds, punching their ticket to Saturday's semifinal round, where they will face the winner of No. 4 Saint Louis and No. 5 Fordham at 11 am.
"We countered, we made plays when we had to, and that's what we always talk about, that, this time of year, it's about finding a way," noted Dayton first year head coach Shauna Green. "It's about who's going to execute, and find a way to make plays."
The Flyers began the game on a 12-0 run before the Rams countered with a strong 18-7 burst to draw within a point at 19-18 after a period. Lauren Cannatelli had six of her eleven points in a second period that saw Dayton again extend their lead, making all four three-point tries for a 37-27 halftime advantage.
Dayton outscored VCU 25-20 in a third quarter that saw the Flyers repel multiple Ram comeback attempts. The Flyers sealed the victory on the free throw line, making 11 of 15 attempts in the final period. While building their advantage, Dayton committed just four turnovers in the first 26 minutes of the game.
VCU (16-15), led by GG Goodhope with 12 points and fellow senior Isis Thorpe with 11, shot just 16 percent in the second period as they watched Dayton rebuild their lead, and 22.7 percent in the fourth period as hope faded away.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Dayton; they played extremely well," said VCU head coach Beth O'Boyle. "When you play a team that executes as well as Dayton does, you've got to knock down some of those outside shots to really earn the win, and unfortunately today, we couldn't get enough of them to fall."
After a one year absence, Dayton returns to the Championship Semifinal round for the eighth time in the past nine seasons.