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This week in the Atlantic 10: Dayton, Duquesne and George Washington play early games against top competition

The Atlantic 10’s top teams played major-conference opponents, bolstering their NCAA Tournament resumes to start the season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Duquesne vs Connecticut
Duquesne guard Kadri-Ann Lass is among the A-10’s top defensive players and one of the Dukes’ biggest contributors so far this season.
Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlantic 10 has been one of the nation’s best mid-major conferences over the years. Teams regularly advance in the NCAA Tournament, even to the Elite Eight like Dayton did in 2015. Players from A-10 schools also regularly make WNBA rosters, and some stay for a long time, including Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics who played for the St. Joseph’s Hawks.

One of the ways A-10 schools build up their resumes for the NCAA Tournament is by playing multiple major-conference opponents early in the regular season. The conference’s top-tier teams like Dayton, Duquesne and George Washington regularly play against many of the best teams in the country.

Dayton is currently 1-1, defeating Colgate, 67-58 on Nov. 9, and more than holding their own in an 82-71 loss to No. 9 Maryland on the road on Nov. 11. Julia Chandler led the Flyers with 23 points in the loss while Kaila Charles scored 22 points to lead the Terrapins. Down the road, the Flyers will travel to play the Green Bay Phoenix on Nov. 24 and then to No. 10 South Carolina on Nov. 28. There’s no denying that the Flyers are looking to play a tough non-conference schedule to bolster their NCAA Tournament hopes if they don’t win the A-10 Tournament.

George Washington is 1-2. They defeated Princeton soundly 64-49 on Nov. 11 in a battle between two mid-major power teams. Then on Wednesday, the Colonials hosted No. 9 Maryland in a game between two Washington-area college teams, but Maryland easily walked away with a 69-30 victory. Kelsi Mahoney led the Colonials with 12 points in a game where George Washington scored in single-digits in three of the four quarters.

Duquesne is 1-2, but last season, the Flyers were 25-8 and made the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. One of the primary reasons that Duquesne had a slow start is because they played major-conference competition on the road.

The Dukes lost two consecutive games, a 61-48 defeat to TCU on Nov. 6 and a 78-41 blowout to No. 11 Texas on Nov. 8, before getting their first win against Mount St. Mary’s this past Monday at home, 73-64. So far, Laia Sole and Kadri-Ann Lass are Duquesne’s co-leading scorers at 9 points per game.

Games to watch this weekend

Maryland played George Washington yesterday in the most high-profile game this week. However, other A-10 teams are playing significant games that you can stream online through ESPN+:

Saint Louis Billikens vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

When: Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. ET

Where: Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, MO

How to watch: ESPN+

Notes: The Billikens were a middle-of-the-pack team in the A-10 in 2017-18, where they went 9-7 in the conference and 17-16 overall. They will play a Cincy team that was fourth in the AAC last season and advanced to last season’s WNIT, as Saint Louis did. Beating one of the better teams in the AAC will help the Billikens’ tournament resume as the season continues.

VCU Rams vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

When: Sunday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. ET

Where: E.J. Wade Arena at Stuart C. Siegel Center, Richmond, VA

How to watch: ESPN+

Notes: The Rams are playing two ACC teams in a week early in the season, which should help them grow against major-conference competition. VCU isn’t expected to be one of the A-10’s top teams this season, but they did begin with a 72-55 win over William and Mary, one of the CAA’s middle-of-the-pack teams last season.

Full Week 3 schedule