There would be no upset special today.
Instead, it would merely be the final game of the Colonials’ 2012-13 campaign. The final game in head coach Jonathan Tsipis’ first year at the helm. And the final culmination of strong careers from graduate students Tara Booker and Sara Mostafa.
It was a game in which GW was simply outmatched by the No.1 seeded and nationally ranked No. 11 Flyers, as Dayton won by a final score of 74-49.
“I think the thing that they are so good at is that they can hurt you in so many ways- in transition, posting under the rim, the shooters on the three point line,” Tsipis said. “And the thing that they do really well is that they’re unselfish- they’re gonna find the open person.”
Dayton, known for their high-paced transition offense, immediately began to run the floor and never stopped. As one Flyer grabbed the rebound, the rest streaked down the court waiting for the quick outlet pass and good look at the basket.
The Colonials just couldn’t get back fast enough. There was no time to set up into their defense as within one or two Dayton passes, the ball was already inside and ready to be put up. The Flyers ended the day with 32 points in the paint and 16 assists, indicative of their very efficient offense.
“I think in the first half, in the first six or seven minutes, we did a good job at least stopping the ball and getting people matched up,” Tsipis said. “Sometimes it wasn’t necessarily who we wanted on different people, but I think the deeper we got into the first half, we started getting a little out of our game plan.”
As GW defenders consistently got caught on screens, Dayton shooters were left wide open to throw one up. They finished the day shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from behind the arc.
Leading the way for Dayton were guards Andrea Hoover and Samantha Mackay, who scored 12 and 15 points respectively on a combined 11-19 shooting, 4-5 from three-point range.
As the Colonials finally began stepping out on shooters, the Flyers’ offense adjusted. One simple pump fake and the Dayton players, all able to create shots for themselves, did just that.
GW, not wanting to play into Dayton’s style of play, was forced to try and slow down the pace of the game. But just as the Flyers were active on offense, so too, were they on defense.
“I think you need to be able to attack them off the dribble,” Tsipis said. “I think you need to be able to get in the paint and then make good decisions, and I think we did get it in the paint, we got some post feeds, and everything.”
The second a Colonials’ guard crossed mid-court, Dayton defenders came up to hound them and set a trap. GW was flustered, and despite working extremely hard to do so, was unable to consistently work the ball inside.
The Colonials were forced into overhead skip passes and outside jumpers that for the most part, weren’t falling. Even more frequent- a Flyer steal. Dayton ended the day with 12 steals, to go along with its 11 blocks and 23 total turnovers forced.
“I think it sped us up,” Tsipis said. “I think it wasn’t necessarily the person getting trapped, I think when we got the ball out of the trap, they did a really good job on their rotation forcing us to play faster than we wanted to.”
It just wasn’t in the books for the Colonials today.
Even in the second half, when one might expect the Flyers’ offense to run out of steam, they kept churning. Dayton was able to showcase its deep roster, cycling in younger, fresher players and get the same result on the court. On the day, the Flyers recorded 29 bench points, led by guard Kelley Austria, who put up 13 points from off the bench.
In her final game as a Colonial, Booker led the team with 12 points and eight rebounds. Senior forward Shi-Heria Shipp again proved a physical presence on the floor, scoring 11 points and adding seven boards.
Despite the quarterfinal loss, the 14 overall wins put together by Tsipis’ first year team are the most for GW since 2009.
“I don’t have any regrets,” Tsipis said. “I think it’s a team that has bought into what we want to do. And I think we have a good work ethic and I think they have a really strong will to get better as individuals and then understand that to be able to get better as a team you have to take sacrifices”