Estero, FL -- In their last matchup, the Dayton Flyers defeated the Louisville Cardinals 82-66 to advance to Dayton's first NCAA regional final. The Cardinals entered the Germain Arena in Estero, FL Sunday evening seeking redemption, but would leave Southwest Florida with yet another resounding feeling of disappointment.
Louisville, coming off a devasting 62-60 loss to Purdue, struck first with a layup and two free throws from Mariya Moore en route to a nine-point first half for the sophomore forward.
Louisville's aggressive play contributed to Dayton's rough start. With 2:13 remaining in the first quarter, the Flyers committed their 5th team foul to put Louisville into the bonus. Fuehring made Dayton (4-1) pay, successfully completing her two free throws. Louisville (1-3) was 80% from the free throw line in the quarter.
Lauren Cannatelli, however, answered quickly with three points off the bench. The freshman proved to be the Flyers only bright stop on both sides of the court early in the game. Dayton would head into the second quarter with a nine-point deficit.
Moore opened the second quarter with the first Cardinal points building an 11 point lead. Moore's hot hand continued, but the Cardinals struggled as the team committed 15 turnovers and 14 fouls in the first half. Fortunately for Louisville, Dayton was rarely able to capitalize on the Cardinal's indiscretions.
With less than 5 minutes until halftime, Dayton's Amber Deane, a senior from Lathrup Village, MI, hit a three to cut Louisville's lead to 6 points. The momentum clearly shifted as Dayton continued on an 11-0 run to take a two-point lead with two minutes remaining in the half.
After trailing by as many as 12 points, the Flyers headed into the locker room tied with Louisville 28-28. Deane was Dayton's lead scorer in the half with 13 points. Moore lead the Cardinals with 16 points and four rebounds.
With the third period off to a slow start, Myisha Hines-Allen started to finally warm up, scoring eight points in the third for the Cardinals. The Flyers, however, put on a passing clinic to finish the quarter with several impressive assists and a 46-43 lead.
While Louisville suffered a scoring drought in the fourth quarter, Dayton went four for four from the field to earn their largest lead of the night at 55-47.
Louisville has been in every game this season, but unable to finish. Sunday evening told the same tale, as Coach Jeff Walz watched his team crumble in the fourth quarter. Walz's frustration lead to a technical foul with 2:55 left in the game to help seal the Cardinals' fate. Dayton defeated Louisville yet again, 79-66.
Amber Deane had a breakout game for the Flyers with 29 points. Kelley Austria also had 18 points in the win.
Moore lead the Cardinals with 23 points. Hines-Allen added 20 points and 8 rebounds. Notably, Louisville fell victim to 19 turnovers and shot just 38% from the field. Fifteen points off of turnovers and 90% from the free throw line contributed to the Flyers success throughout the night.
Dayton heads home from the Gulf Coast Showcase with a third place trophy and a 5-1 record. Louisville falls to 1-4 as their struggles to find their identity this season continue.