The delay due to the leak at the start of Saturday’s games did not affect Dayton at all. In fact, the Flyers looked like they wanted to be responsible for creating more of a delay by making their own rain. That is, raining in threes over Charlotte.
No. 5 Dayton shot 11-21 – 52 percent – from three-point territory, in a 77-53 domination of the No. 4 49ers.
Senior Nikki Oakland followed her 20 point, 13 rebound performance against Massachusetts the day before with another double-double – 13 points and 12 rebounds.
“We’ve been wanting this so bad this whole season,” Oakland said. “This is our goal right here, just to go to the finals and [try] to get to the [NCAA Tournament]. [We] seniors have been working for this since we’ve been here. We’ve all just been playing great as a team, [and] we win as a team. [But] we still have some work to do.”
But Oakland was not responsible for any of the threes. Those were dominated by seniors Karah Cloxton and Kiki Lund, who each made 4-of-6 attempts.
With another eight points added to the 12 she tallied from distance, Cloxton finished with a career-high 20 points.
“I was just trying to be really aggressive,” the 5-foot-8 guard said. “Coach [Jim] Jabir’s has been stressing ‘be aggressive, be aggressive.’ My teammates were knocking down shots too, which made the defense really have to work, so I [was] able to hit some [shots].”
Asked if they plan to try to pour in points from beyond the arc vs. Temple, Oakland says she doesn’t yet know.
“We just take whatever [our opponent] gives us,” she said. “If they pack the middle, we’re going to go outside. If they stay outside, we’re going to pack inside. Whatever we have opened, that’s what we take. We try not to force too much.
Temple coach Dawn Staley sat on the sideline watching the Flyers control the game vs. Charlotte.
“They were on all cylinders tonight. They are a very experienced basketball team with a lot of seniors, and they play well together,” she said. “[When we play them], we’re going to have to disrupt the flow of what they’re trying to do. I think we’re pretty good at not giving people what they want. We just have to disrupt them as much as possible.
Staley continued: “I think they’re going to play zone, pack it in on us, and not let us get the ball inside. That’s why it’s important for us to control the boards. I like the match-up. I’d like to avenge the loss that we had this season against them on Jan. 12 [at Dayton]. I didn’t care who we played, but since it is Dayton, I think we have the motivation factor because they did beat us [62-49].
Dayton’s seniors are also happy with its semifinal opponent.
“It gives us all confidence knowing that it’s not impossible by any means [to beat Temple], and that if we play our game, we can achieve anything,” Cloxton said.
“I think coach Staley is the best coach in our league,” Jabir said. “I think her kids are tough, and I have nothing but respect for what she does and how she does it.”
He added: “Our kids keep surprising me. I would have thought this [game vs. Charlotte] would go down to the wire, and [instead] we blew them out. We just stuck to the game plan and really played great.”
The game is set for Sunday afternoon at noon.
For more read: Owls Survive Weather; Spiders
Jeff Appelblatt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.