UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The University of Dayton women’s basketball team saw its season and second straight trip to the NCAA tournament end abruptly Saturday, as the Flyers fell 75-66 at Penn State in the first round.
Junior guard Patrice Lalor and senior guard Kristin Daugherty led UD with 18 points apiece. Lalor also added a career-high 11 assists for her first career double-double. The Flyers’ leading scorer and rebounder, junior forward Justine Raterman, was limited to three points and six rebounds in just 19 minutes of action after injuring her left knee during last week’s Atlantic 10 championship tournament.
Dayton jumped out to a 16-8 lead five-and-a-half minutes into the game, but 12 unanswered points by the sixth-seeded Nittany Lions put them up 18-16 and UD would not be able to regain the lead the rest of the game.
Penn State led 40-28 at halftime, and by as much as 14 early in the second period, but the Flyers battled back to cut the deficit to two points five different times. The last time was 65-63 with 3:02 remaining, then PSU scored the next eight points and held Dayton scoreless until a three by Cassie Sant with 32 seconds to go.
Penn State’s Alex Bentley led all scorers with 25 points.
Dayton shot just 34% (12-35) in the first half, but mounted its comebacks behind 52% (15-29) shooting. For the game, UD outshot Penn State 42% to 41% from the field and 44% to 25% from three-point range, but made just two of five free throw attempts, compared to 18 of 21 for the Nittany Lions. The Flyers’ five free throw attempts were a season low.
Thirteen of Dayton’s 22 turnovers came in the first half. The 22 turnovers matched the second-most by UD this season.
Daugherty finished her career fifth in career scoring with 1,498 points. The two-year team captain was a three-time All-Atlantic 10 selection and the 2011 Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year in women’s basketball. Over her career the Flyers were 94-43, with four straight post-season appearances (WNIT in 2008 and 2009, and NCAA in 2010 and 2011).
Dayton finished 21-12 on the year. Penn State improved to 25-9 and will play Monday in the NCAA Second Round.