Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dayton nips Richmond; Virginia falls at Georgia Tech

Rough night for the state's teams:

Dayton 81, Richmond 78: More tough meat to chew on for the Spiders (15-5, 3-3 Atlantic 10), who dropped an Atlantic 10 heartbreaker for the second time in six games. On Jan. 7, the Spiders watched a 7-point lead evaporate in the final minutes and fell to Temple by a point at the buzzer. On Wednesday, it was Richmond that staged the great rally, wiping out a 10-point deficit in the second half and pulling ahead by three in the extra period. But Dayton star Justine Raterman hit back-to-back jumpers with less than two minutes to play to nudge the Flyers ahead to stay. Raterman, who finished with a team-high 19 points, also hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. The Spiders got huge performances from Abby Oliver (a career-high 28 points), Rachael Bilney (17 points, all in the second half and OT) and Becca Wann (16 points, 11 rebounds). But the Spiders were hurt badly by an inability to control the defensive boards. Dayton (13-5, 5-1) grabbed 23 offensive rebounds (to just 8 by Richmond). The most damaging was a second-chance by Raterman in the final seconds of regulation that led to her being fouled and sent to the line for the game-tying free throws. Oliver had a chance to send the game into a second overtime with a 3-pointer in the final seconds, but, well, we'll quote from the Spiders' official release: "The unstoppable Oliver took the last shot, a three on the wing, but had it partially blocked for what looked like a foul but no call was whistled."

Georgia Tech 63, Virginia 53: The Cavaliers pulled to within four at 52-48 on a Jazmin Pitts layup with 8:37 left but went scoreless for the next five minutes while the Yellow Jackets extended their advantage to 13. Ariana Moorer had 14 points but was the only player in double figures for a shorthanded Virginia team that continues to search for answers offensively en route to their third loss in four games. To their credit, the Cavaliers (15-7, 3-5 ACC) kept grinding away on defense, as usual, and excelled at making steals (12), forcing turnovers (20) and scoring points off those turnovers (21). But in addition to suspect shooting, Virginia was hurt by an inability to get to the free throw line (4 of 6) or keep Georgia Tech rebounders off the boards at either end (48-28 Yellow Jackets rebounding edge, 20-12 on the offensive glass). Sasha Goodlett had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead Georgia Tech (15-6, 5-3), which is ranked No. 24 in the latest ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.

Eastern Kentucky 80, Longwood 62: Crystal Smith scored 18 points, Brittanni Billups added 17 and Heather Tobeck chipped in 12, but the Lancers (5-19), who forced 27 turnovers but still couldn't keep pace with a sharp-shooting Colonels team that hit 53.3 percent of its field goals.

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