Davidson dominates the Lady Monarchs on the boards en route to a first round Woman’s NIT win.
The Old Dominion lady Monarchs basketball season is officially over, after an 82-73 loss to the Davidson Wildcats, Thursday evening, at the Ted Constant Center.On a night where a lack of interior size to match up with Davidson’s 6-foot 5-inch senior Sophia Aleksandravicius who scored 27 and had 11 rebounds was prevalent, the Monarchs were blatantly out worked. Davidson secured a 57 to 34 rebound advantage, 20 of those rebounds where on the offensive end of the floor. Sophomore, Shae Kelley let us in on what she felt went wrong, “second chance opportunities, we just didn’t crash the boards, we didn’t grab the rebounds, so they were getting second chance opportunities and that’s what hurt us.” Kelley also talked about going up against Aleksandravicius, “you definitely had to make a move against her, she’s 6-foot 5-inches so of course she’s going to be there, regardless if you make a move or not her arms are going to be there. We tried to get her out on the perimeter and take her off the dribble.”Early on the game had the foundation to be an epic battle, both teams were pushing the pace and trading baskets, Old Dominion held a slim lead of 25-24 with 9:44 remaining in the first half.All of a sudden ODU looked like a team that had an 18-day layover in between games; Davidson ended the half on a fiery 17-4 run and went into the locker room with a 41-29 lead over ODU.Coach Karen Barefoot talked about the run after the game saying, “I think that they were being really aggressive on the boards, and we weren’t pushing back, they had some good opportunities second, third chance points. They’ve got size, talent and they hustle, once we get down in that area, we’ve got to get it back on the defensive end because that’s who we are and so they set the tempo.”Senior Jackie Cook said about the run, “We got sluggish and let the game get away from us, it just slipped away.”The Monarchs played better and crisper in the second half, but still failed to rebound the basketball, allowing 11 second half offensive rebounds. The lead swelled up to 18 with 14:09 reaming in the game, and the Monarchs were able to cut it to nine several times but could not muster a rally big enough to pose a real threat to Davidson.The Monarchs were powered behind the play of Kelley and sophomore guard Stephanie Gardner who totaled half of the Monarchs points between themselves, Kelley tied her career high with 21 and Gardner tallied 15 of her own.Barefoot said about the second half, “I felt like we really competed hard second half, we got our identity back, played hard-nose defense.”After the game Gardner talked about her team’s struggles, “I think we needed to get into a rhythm as a team and that’s something that we didn’t get the opportunity to do, because we struggled to play our type of basketball. We get our rhythm from defense, so if we are not getting steals and not putting up pressure defense, we’re kind of bumpy on the offensive end, so as a team we didn’t get our rhythm.”The lady Monarchs finished the season with a 19-12 record. Looking forward to next year, Barefoot talked about the lessons and experiences for the returning players to garner from this game as well as the season as a whole. “Hopefully the returners can look and see where we wanna go and make some noise in the tournament in the future. I look forward to a strong off season and I want to thank the seniors for all they’ve given us this year. I’m really proud of the team and how they competed all year long. Hopefully the returners can come back and see where we [want to] be, because when they’re seniors and juniors, we want to have that chemistry, we want to be able to connect better when we get into the tournament.”Brian SaundersStaff Writer