What to watch for in the A-10 tournament this week
On Tuesday the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Tournament will begin on-campus sites. While upsets may not be common there is at least some madness guaranteed. In 2018 George Washington won their seventh title as a five-seed but in five of the last six seasons one of the top three seeds has come out on top.
In the A-10 the bottom 12 teams play at campus sites on Tuesday, March 3, while the top 2 teams get a bye to the quarterfinals on the Dayton campus on Friday, March 6.
The full bracket can be found below:
The first two rounds can be found on ESPN+, the semifinals will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and the championship game will be broadcast on ESPNU on Sunday at noon.
Here are five things to look out for:
Dayton is the favorite
Dayton earned the No. 1 seed for the third time in four years and will have a home-court advantage hosting the tournament.
The Flyers are the clear favorite to win the tournament, having gone 15-1 in conference play. The team’s lone loss came in the Bronx to Fordham who secured the three seed in this year’s tournament.
Dayton is led by upperclassmen Jayla Scaife and Erin Whalen who average 13 and 12.5 points per game respectively.
Dayton is a versatile team who can win both low and high scoring games. With their home crowd behind them stopping the Flyers will be nearly impossible.
Fordham looks to repeat
Fordham is eyeing a second straight A-10 championship, something that is well within their reach because of Bre Cavanaugh.
Cavanaugh is averaging an incredible 19.4 points per game while adding 6.2 points and 1.9 assists per game as well. She has scored 12 or fewer points just twice in conference play.
As long as Cavanaugh is succeeding on the court the Rams will have a shot.
Another key for the Rams will be their three-point shooting. The team makes 7.3 threes per game, good for second in the conference.
Fordham also plays one of the most aggressive styles of play that I’ve seen in the conference this season, this has the tendency to wear teams down, working in their favor.
If Fordham can execute these three key points they may be hoisting another trophy on Sunday.
VCU looks to right the ship
The Rams struggled in the nonconference portion of their schedule and showed their weaknesses in games such as their close home loss to GW. However, VCU was the preseason favorite to win the conference.
VCU finished the season 5-1, with their lone loss coming at Dayton.
Despite having the third-best scoring defense, the Rams have struggled on offense, failing to score 60 points in seven conference games. They haven’t scored 70+ points since the loss to Duquesne on Feb. 2.
While Rams will have to rely on Tera Reed, Danielle Hammond and Taya Robinson who all average at least 10 points per game, the secret to success will be ensuring VCU’s defense continues to propel their team forward.
A young Saint Louis team looks to make a statement
Saint Louis has nine underclassmen on their roster, two juniors, one senior and one graduate student.
The Billikens have won three of their last five games, losing only to Dayton and VCU. For Saint Louis to make a run they will need to avenge their Feb. 29 and Jan. 19 losses to Dayton, something they have the tools to do.
Saint Louis is a slightly better three-point shooting team if they can capitalize on that then the Billikens may be able to pull out a major upset.
Ciaja Harbison, Kendra Wilken, Rachel Kent and Myia Clark have all started all 29 games for the Billikens and average at least eight points per game. Their success will be critical to any run they have in them.
Nicole Cardaño-Hillary looks to make history
Mason’s junior point guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary is just 11 points away from becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer. In three seasons Cardaño-Hillary has amassed 1,737 points and has averaged at least 17 points per game each year.
Cardaño-Hillary would pass Keri (Chaconas) Holm who set the record her senior year in 1996.
Becoming any program’s leading scorer would be an accomplishment, but doing so in three years is incredibly uncommon and even more special.
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