DAYTON 56, ST. BONAVENTURE 53
Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Championship
How Dayton Won: A big lead and big plays at the end. The Flyers jumepd out to a 22-point lead in the first half. The Bonnies battled back in the second and took a lead, 51-50, with 2:16 left, but Dayton made some big plays down the stretch and Bona couldn't get a jump ball call when it needed a final stop. Experience in the title game helped the Flyers, too, as Bona suffered from big-time nerves.
Player of the Game: Dayton's Justine Raterman scored 13 with eight rebounds to earn MVP honors but Patrice LaLore hit some key jumpers at key times for the Flyers.
Player of the Game II: For Bona, it was Doris Ortega. The sophmore had 18 points and 12 rebounds and was one of the few starters who didn't seem caught up in the moment in the first half.
Stat Check: Bona committed 19 turnovers. Dayton turned that into 19 points.
Play of the Game: Andrea Hoover hit a tough layup with 23 seconds left to give Dayton a 54-51 lead.
Play of the Game II: It's a shot everyone thought was going in. A shot that she's made dozens of times, but Jessica Jenkin's deep three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime clanked off the back rim.
Jim Crowley on his team's comeback: "At some point, we just had to play better. One posession better. Four minutes better. Our kids are always confident with that. They understand there are enough possessions to give us a chance. We won't go quietly, but I don't think we wer ever down 20 before."
Megan Van Tatenhove on if she could envision playing for an A-10 title when she came to Bona: "I'm a pretty competive player and a competitive person. I would not have picked St. Bonaventure if I knew that nothing would happen. I had faith in the coaches that they would put us in the right spots."
Dayton coach Jim Jabir on if Bona is an NCAA Tournament team: "Absolutely they are. They have three losses. I think Jim Crowley is the best coach in our league and we have a lot of good coaches. They're a team that plays with a tremendous sense of purpose. They're a beautiful thing to watch if you're not playing against them. They've beaten West Virigina. They've beaten St. John's. They're a very, very good team. It wasn't an accident. You don't win 29 games on accident. I have a lot of respect for their program.."
In the House: Attendance was listed as 2,014. Good showing for both sides, but the Bona fans were particularly impressive. Many former players were on hand. If the game was on a weekend instead of 5 p.m. on a Monday, they may have had an even better crowd.
What It Means: An automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for Dayton. A sit-and-wait for St. Bonaventure. Ranked No. 16 in the AP poll with an RPI of 15, Bona should have an at-large bid.
What's Next: Selection Monday.
-- Amy Moritz