After a wild weekend in the A-10 a lot can happen in the next three weeks
While it may be a little too early to talk about the conference tournament, this past weekend proved that wacky things are coming in March.
GW upset VCU the second-best team in the conference while St. Bonaventure earned their seventh win of the season upsetting Davidson who sat third in the conference.
The current standings can be found below.
Dayton 10-0 (17-7)
VCU 8-2 (13-10)
Fordham 7-3 (15-8)
Davidson 6-4 (13-10)
Duquesne 6-4 (16-7)
Saint Louis 6-4 (14-9)
UMass 6-5 (14-9)
Rhode Island 6-5 (16-8)
Richmond 4-6 (11-13)
GW 4-6 (10-13)
La Salle 3-7 (9-14)
St. Bonaventure 3-7 (7-17)
Saint Joseph’s 2-9 (8-15)
George Mason 2-9 (8-16)
Dayton is on a 12 game winning streak, including a league-best 10-0 record, however, the team has had some close calls during this win streak. The Flyers were nearly upset by Fordham and Mason, winning both games by just four points. While all that matters right now is that the number in the win column keeps increasing. I don’t see Dayton winning every game on the rest of the regular season, they may even get their first loss this week with games against VCU and an up and down UMass team. Dayton’s secret to success may be their depth, with eight players averaging at least 13 minutes per game, with no player averaging more than 29.
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VCU was looking like one of the top contenders in the conference until the team inexplicably lost to GW at home. Early in conference play, the Rams squeaked out a win at home against Richmond, winning by three. VCU will have to rebound in a convincing fashion against St. Bonaventure, another possible trap game at home, to be ready to travel to Dayton to take on the Flyers. The Rams will need to get their offense going in the last few weeks, as they give up 57.7 points per game, but only score 59.4, the worst positive margin in the conference. VCU needs to improve in three-point shooting, as the team has made just 84 across 23 games. Threes will give the team an opportunity to score more points, but also open up the rest of their offense.
Fordham’s two losses have come to the two top teams in the conference. The Rams’ last chance for a statement win comes Feb. 22 when the team takes on Dayton at home. Fordham’s success has come behind Bre Cavanaugh, who is averaging 19 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in nearly 39 minutes per game. In conference play alone Cavanaugh has scored 22.1 points per contest. Fordham’s successes will continue as long as Cavanaugh continues to be able to play with very few breaks. Unlike other top teams, the Rams have four players averaging at least 31 minutes per game. The Rams’ successes have come on the foundation of the scoring of Cavanaugh, Anna DeWolfe and Kendell Heremaia.
Davidson started conference play 5-0, but have gone 1-4 two weeks. In the last two games, the Wildcats have lost to the best team and the third-worst team in the conference. The team does not have an easy week playing Fordham on the road and against Duquesne at home. In the team’s four losses the Wildcats have averaged just 56 points, more than 10 points below their season average. Davidson will be in trouble if they cannot score, having just three players scoring in double figures in the last two games. The offense can get back on track with Sarah Donavan and Katie Turner who have not been able to make their shots the last two games.
Duquesne, like most teams in the conference, has had their ups and downs this season. While the team lost to Dayton, the Dukes did narrowly defeat VCU. Looking ahead to this week Duquesne will be taking on Richmond and Davidson and while the team may not be able to play themselves into a bye a favorable seeding would certainly help in a few weeks. Duquesne leads the conference in scoring and is second in made three-pointers. Averaging 7.6 threes per game will certainly help your offense and it’s something the team should aim to continue to do in the coming weeks.
Saint Louis is a young basketball team with 10 underclassmen but still find themselves in the mix with three weeks to go. The team has won their last four games and have two winnable games in UMass and Rhode Island this week. Ciaja, Kenda Wilke, Myia Clark and Rachel Kent all average at least 10 points per game. This versatile scoring attack has proved helpful for the team and will need to continue down the stretch. Despite playing just 21.3 minutes and scoring 4.7 points per game Brooke Flowers is averaging 2.1 blocks per game, fourth-best in the conference.
UMass started out with a 4-0 record in conference play, before dropping five of their last seven games. The Minutewomen are have shown that the team is not able to play with the league’s top teams, with losses coming to VCU and Fordham. However, UMass has a lot to prove this week taking on Dayton and Saint Louis this week. One of the most impressive statistics from UMass this season is that freshman Maeve Donnelly averages a conference-best 2.6 blocks per game in 26.7 minutes per contest. Donnelly’s development will not only be critical for the team’s success this season but also for the next three seasons.
Rhode Island has lost four of the last five games, with the lone win coming against Mason. The Rams need to find more consistent contributors aside from Nicole Jorgensen who averaged 24 points over two games last week. Jorgensen is third in the conference in scoring (16.4 ppg), first in rebounding (8.6 rpg) and fifth in blocks (1.1 bpg). Rhode Island should look to get Davida Dale, Marta Vargas and Erin Jones, who all average at least 10 points per game, back on track to finish the season on a high note. The schedule works in the Rams favor as the team does not play a top-4 team for the rest of the season.
Richmond started conference play 0-4, but have improved to 4-2 over the last six games. The Spiders have a difficult week ahead with games at home against Duquesne and Fordham. The team has been able to build depth this year with just one player averaging more than 30 minutes per game, and nine players averaging at least 12 minutes. One area the Spiders could improve is free-throw shooting. While the team shoots 70.3 percent overall, two of the top four players in free throw attempts shoot below 70 percent. Free throws are free points and making a few more of them could be the difference down the stretch in close games.
GW has been known to make some noise in the month of March, but the Colonials beat narrowly beat VCU on the road. VCU has struggled to score this season, something the Colonials were able to capitalize on. GW was able to do this with nine players scoring, though none in double figures. Eleven players average at least 10 minutes per game, a depth that cannot be found on many teams in the country much less the conference. Another bright point for the Colonials that has served them well this season and will continue to in the season to come is redshirt freshman Tori Hyduke’s three-point shooting. Hyduke leads the team in made threes and is sixth in the conference in three-point percentage.
La Salle has improved slightly from last season, already matching their total of conference wins (three) from last season with six games to go. This improvement has come largely behind Claire Jacobs, a freshman from Perth, Australia. Jacobs is the team’s leading scorer averaging 13.2 points per game despite playing just 25.4 minutes per game. The Explorers regularly play everyone on the roster, with no player under five minutes per game. The team has worked to find it’s identity with 11 different players starting at least one game. Once La Salle solidifies the team’s identity and continues to get scoring from Jacobs the team is set to finish the season strong and continue the team’s turnaround in the future.
St. Bonaventure struggled early in conference play but has won their last two including beating Davidson by 12 points last Sunday. While the team faces VCU on Thursday the team should be confident that they can match up against any team in the conference. The Bonnies found success against the Wildcats without making many threes or free throws, but they shot efficiently from the floor, behind the arc and from the free-throw line. St. Bonaventure will continue to find success if everyone is able to contribute, as six players average at least seven points per game, from the freshman to senior classes.
Saint Joseph’s will need to win out to match the team’s conference wins from last season. The team has struggled this season after graduating multiple key contributors from last season’s team. The Hawks, who have lost five straight, take on La Salle on Saturday. As the season wraps up the team should look to improve their three-point shooting as they are second to last in makes and last in percentage at 25.3 percent. This could help the Hawks avoid finishing the season last place in the conference, a significant fall from the team’s sixth-place finish in the 2017-2018 season.
(Note: I am a student at Mason) Mason is not playing like the worst team in the conference, despite the team’s record. Against Saint Louis, one of the best defensive teams in the conference went on a 14-0 run and tied the game. While consistency has been an issue for the team this season, they are better than they look on paper. Unfortunately, the standings are based on wins, not near wins. While it may be common for teams to fall apart during long losing streaks, Mason snapped an eight-game one on Wednesday night, this team has not. As the month of February quickly comes to a close this team should end their season with a few more wins, ending on a high note.
Players of the Week
Player of the Week: Kendra Wilken (Saint Louis)
Kendra Wilken averaged 24 points and 8.5 rebounds in wins over Saint Joseph’s and Mason.
Rookie of the Week: Anna DeWolfe (Fordham)
Anna DeWolfe averaged 15 points per game last week and added a total of five rebounds, three assists and two steals on the week.
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