Atlantic 10 Conference Play Roundup: Week 2

RICHMOND, VA - MARCH 03: Head coach Lisa Stone of the Saint Louis Billikens looks on during the semifinal round of the Atlantic-10 Women's Basketball Tournament against the St. Joseph's (PA) Hawks at Richmond Coliseum on March 3, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. The Hawks won 58-49. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - MARCH 03: Head coach Lisa Stone of the Saint Louis Billikens looks on during the semifinal round of the Atlantic-10 Women's Basketball Tournament against the St. Joseph's (PA) Hawks at Richmond Coliseum on March 3, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. The Hawks won 58-49. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

UMass, Davidson, Dayton and VCU rise to the top of the standings

Richmond 70 – Rhode Island 76
Duquesne 60 – GW 65
Fordham 62 – Davidson 74
UMass 62 – St. Bonaventure 52
Saint Joseph’s 40 – VCU 47
Saint Louis 77 – La Salle 61
Mason 55 – Dayton 59
Saint Joseph’s 43 – UMass 61
La Salle 56 – Duquesne 82
Mason 47 – St. Bonaventure 62
GW 47 – Fordham 53
Dayton 65 – Richmond 51
VCU 65 – Saint Louis 52
Rhode Island 67 – Davidson 79

Richmond has struggled shooting in conference play, but particularly in last week’s games against Rhode Island and Dayton. Despite making 17 threes in those two games, the team shot just 35.9 percent from the floor. Though an obvious point, Richmond will need to make more baskets if they are to win more than a handful of games in conference play.

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Rhode Island will need to develop more depth as conference play continues as just six players scored in the team’s win over Richmond and five scored in the loss to Davidson. With a limited number of scoring threats, the Rams make it easier on defenses to stop them.

Duquesne struggled to get to the free-throw line last week. With 24 attempts in two games, despite averaging nearly 19 attempts per game. In the loss to GW just two players, Amanda Kalin and Angela Staffileno were able to get to the line. The Dukes will need to do better getting to the line in future games in order to get the “free points” they were able to get earlier in the season.

GW’s comeback against Fordham fell just short, proving once again how close the contests in the conference will be this season. Despite having the third-best three-point shooting percentage in the conference, the Colonials make the fourth-fewest threes in the conference. Making more threes will help GW offensively, as the team has yet to score more than 65 points in conference play.

Fordham had a chance to make a statement with a win over the young, talented Davidson team, and lost by 12. The Rams struggled with depth that game, as four starters scored in double figures, but only one other player scored, and it was just one point. In a narrow win over GW just five players scored as well. Involving more players in the offense may help challenge opposing defenses.

Davidson has cemented themselves as one of the top teams in the conference and the team holds one of the best records in the country. In the win over Rhode Island five players scored in double figures, including Australian freshmen Suzi-Rose Deegan and Adelaide Fuller who had 21 and 18 respectively. The freshmen have proved they can play against tough competition, even early in their career.

UMass hasn’t lost a game since Nov. 25 and the team’s ten-game winning streak is the longest in the conference. The team is led on the offensive end by Hailey Leidel (17.6 points per game) and Destiney Philoxy (13.1 points per game) and on the defensive end by Maeve Donnelly (47 blocks) and Vashnie (28 steals). UMass has struggled in previous years but this team is trying to prove that it is different, and so far it is working.

St. Bonaventure found their groove from behind the arc last week, making seven threes in a loss to UMass and 10 in the win over Mason. Making threes has not necessarily led to wins for the 4-12 team, however, more points on fewer attempts will always benefit the team.

Saint Joseph’s is struggling offensively, scoring just 83 points last week and rank last in the conference in points per game (55.1). The Hawks should look towards Lula Roig and Gabby Smalls to increase their production to spark the struggling offense. Scoring more points than the opponent is critical and scoring less than 45 points will not be enough.

VCU has made a defensive statement so far, not allowing a conference opponent to score more than 54 points. The Rams average 9.1 steals per game, second in the conference, and despite averaging 7.0 last week the team still controlled both games. The team is also second in the conference in blocked shots, averaging 5.0 per game. VCU had four blocks against Saint Louis and a season-high 10 against Saint Joseph’s. Succeeding on the defensive end will lead to more wins for this team.

Saint Louis got to the line 25 times in their over La Salle, about eight more free throw attempts than the team’s season average. If the team can get to the line they make the shot 74.3 percent of the time. This could be the difference in close games moving forward.

La Salle looks to snap their nine-game losing streak, having not won a game since Nov. 30. The Explorers are last in the conference in field goal percentage, making just 34.9 percent of its shots. As simple as it sounds making a higher percentage of their shots will put La Salle in a better position to win games. The team made a combined 28.6 percent of its shots last week, which is certainly not going to be enough to win games most days of the week.

Mason’s offense struggled last week scoring 55 and 47 points in their two games last week, despite averaging 62.5 points per game, good for eighth in the conference. Scoring just 47 points will rarely win you points (unless you are the VCU team for last week, however, the other four teams that scored less than 50 points all lost).

Dayton’s offensive rebounding kept them ahead in the team’s midweek matchup against Mason, as the Flyers pulled down 17 offensive boards. The team is fourth in the conference in offensive rebounds per game, something that will continue to help them win games in conference play.

UMass 3-0 (13-3)
Davidson 3-0 (10-6)
Dayton 3-0 (10-7)
VCU 3-0 (8-8)
Fordham 2-1 (10-6)
Duquesne 1-2 (11-5)
Saint Louis 1-2 (9-7)
Rhode Island 1-2 (8-7)
Saint Joseph’s 1-2 (7-8)
Mason 1-2 (7-9)
GW 1-2 (7-9)
St. Bonaventure 1-2 (4-12)
Richmond 0-3 (7-10)
La Salle 0-3 (6-10)

Players of the Week
Player of the Week: Nicole Jorgensen (Rhode Island)

Jorgensen averaged 27.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game last week, including a season-high 32 points and 11 rebounds and her fifth double-double against Davidson Sunday. She averages 16.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game this season.

Rookie of the Week: Adelaide Fuller (Davidson)

Fuller averaged 18 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting nearly 70 percent from the floor last week. She averages 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game.

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