St. Bonaventure takes on the Dayton Flyers at 5 p.m. today on NBC Sports Network. The Bonnies have dropped its last three conference games, including a heartbreaking overtime loss to George Mason last Wednesday. The Bonnies led by as many as nine points with less than four minutes left in regulation. George Mason’s Taylor Brown sunk a 3-pointer to force overtime, and George Mason carried that momentum into overtime.
Losing three straight conference games can cause reason for concern. The Bonnies, however, are looking forward to playing Dayton.
“Players and coaches alike are disappointed but also focused on improving,” said Bona head coach Jim Crowley. “We all know that there are some things to clear up but we also are doing some things we are doing well.”
Hannah Little missed the George Mason game due to a violation of team rules. It was a one-game suspension, so Little will dress today.
The Bonnies have a great opportunity to beat a very good Dayton team this afternoon.
The Flyers dropped its Atlantic 10 opener to George Washington, but have won their last two against Davidson and Duquesne. Dayton features two of the top six scorers in the Atlantic 10. Andrea Hoover and Ally Malott combined to score 35.5 points per game that help pace the third highest scoring offense in the conference.
Hoover, a senior, has been a starter for Dayton since her freshman year. She won Atlantic 10 Player of the Year last season. She’s scored at least 15 points in every game expect two this season. She’s not just a one trick pony; she’s capable of scoring inside, outside and in transition. She’s a complete offensive player. She shoots 87.5 percent from the free throw line, 49.4 percent from three and averages the 10th most assists per game in the conference.
“You don’t really slow down Hoover,” said Bona head coach Jim Crowley. “She has too good a motor and too many skills. We hope to limit her opportunities at the rim and team-guard her.”
Malott averages 7.3 rebounds a game, along with her 15.8 points per game.
“Malott is really gifted,” said Crowley. “She is a skilled 6’4 player who plays really hard and with a lot of skill.”
Dayton has so much skill inside and on the perimeter. They have a number of girls that can beat their opponents off the dribble, which is a reason why they’re such a difficult defensive matchup.
“Dayton is so tough to guard cause they play a high pace and have great size and numerous weapons,” said Crowley.
The offense is what Dayton is known for, but they ranked sixth in the conference in defensive field goal percentage. They give up points, but that’s because of how fast they play on offense.
“Their defense is really good and underrated,” said Crowley. “They get after the ball and have great size and discipline in the paint.”
St. Bonaventure will have to play their way to win this game.
“Our offense has to have great pace and be able to protect the ball while getting to the paint as often as we can,” said Crowley.
Controlling the paint and maintaining the pace could be the recipe for St. Bonaventure to secure a much needed conference win.