PHILADELPHIA – The University of Dayton women’s basketball team won its first-ever Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship with a 56-53 victory over No. 16/22 St. Bonaventure Monday night at Hagan Arena.
The Flyers (23-6) will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship.
The loss snapped the Bonnies (29-3) 18-game winning streak.
Senior Justine Raterman, the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, led the Flyers with 13 points and eight rebounds. Fellow senior Patrice Lalor, also named to the All-Tournament Team, contributed 11 points and four assists.
Freshman Andrea Hoover had nine points, including the last four points for the Flyers.
Dayton led by as many as 22 points, but a pair of free throws by SBU’s Alaina Walker at 2:16 gave the Bonnies their first lead of the game, 51-50.
On Dayton’s next possession Lalor was fouled and sank both free throws to regain the lead for good for the Flyers.
The Bonnies missed on their next time down the floor and Raterman came up with a huge defensive rebound.
Hoover hit a big-time layup to give UD a 54-51 lead.
CeCe Dixon got the Bonnies back within one with 11.4 seconds to play.
Hoover came up big again, for the second consecutive game, knocking down two free throws with eight seconds to play. (She also hit two big free throws in the win over Temple with two seconds left in the game).
Jessica Jenkins’ three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark for the Bonnies.
Hoover got Dayton on the board on its first offensive possession with a three-pointer at 19:42.
UD jumped to an 18-5 lead on a trey by Lalor at 11:20.
The Flyer defense held SBU to just two field goals for nearly nine minutes and held the Bonnies with no three-point field goals the entire first half.
Casey Nance’s layup at 7:20 gave Dayton its largest lead of the half, 27-5. However, it was UD’s last points of the half. The Flyers missed their next 10 shots, had three turnovers and St. Bonaventure went on a 12-0 run to cut the lead to 27-17 at the half.
The drought reached nearly 10 minutes until Andrea Hoover hit a jumper at the 17:06 mark of the second period.
This marked the second consecutive finals appearance for the Flyers. UD lost 67-60 to No. 5/5 Xavier last year in the title game. It was the first trip for St. Bonaventure.
The Flyers, who received a vote in the latest AP Poll (March 5), will await their seeding and location for the Big Dance when the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Selection Show will be held Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN3.com.
Notes: Patrice Lalor reached the 500 milestone for career assists (502) in this game…Justine Raterman became just the second person to be named to four A-10 All-Championship teams, and the first to do it in consecutive seasons. (Xavier’s Amber Harris also received the honor four times, but not in consecutive seasons).
2012 Atlantic 10 All-Championship Team
Shey Peddy – Temple
Michelle Baker – Saint Joseph’s
Megan Van Tatenhove – St. Bonaventure
Patrice Lalor - Dayton
Justine Raterman – Dayton (Most Outstanding Performer)