Toledo’s Sarah St-Fort, left, and Dayton’s JaVonna Layfield struggle for control of the ball during the second half on Wednesday. BLADE/JETTA FRASER
Inviting a reigning Elite Eight finisher to town isn’t exactly what a winless team needs.
Poor as the timing might have been, the University of Toledo women's basketball team had a date with Atlantic 10 Conference favorite Dayton Wednesday at Savage Arena.
The result was predictable. Dayton buried Toledo in the first quarter and eased to a 83-57 win that sent the Rockets to their worst start since 1978.
A challenging nonconference schedule — with included two of the final eight teams from last season — has UT still looking for its first win.
PHOTO GALLERY: Dayton vs. UT women
“There's still times I even look at it myself and say, 'Man, what did I do to us?'” UT coach Tricia Cullop said. “But at the end of the day, I still think we're making our team play harder and better.”
Toledo (0-6) needed 9 minutes and 40 seconds to makes it first field goal. Dayton (6-1) forced the Rockets to miss their first 12 shots and turn over the ball eight times in the first 10 minutes alone.
The Flyers led 18-1 fewer than seven minutes into a game, and Toledo couldn't slow the damage. Even after Ana Capotosto's running layup with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter gave Toledo its first made field goal of the day, Dayton's Jenna Burdette immediately hit a 3-pointer on the other end.
“We don't really have a go-to [scorer]. Everyone can score; everyone brings something to the table,” said UT guard Brenae Harris, the only UT starter in double figures with 10 points. “I think that sometimes we're all not looking to be an offensive threat, including myself.”
The Rockets squeezed 12 points out the remaining time before halftime, though the push didn't help. Dayton's Amber Deane made a layup plus a foul, then Jodie Cornelie's free throw gave the Flyers a 27-point lead near the end of the half.
UT created its best stretch of the half — five straight points — yet the Flyers took a 37-15 lead into halftime. Toledo's two straight makes to end the second quarter made its first-half line 5-for-28 (17.9 percent) from the field.
The Rockets recovered to shoot 16-for-38 (42.1 percent) in the second half, when Dayton outscored them by only four points. Halee Printz led Toledo with 13 points off the bench. Janice Monakana had a team-high seven rebounds. Five Flyers scored in double figures, led by Lauren Cannatelli's 15 points off the bench.
The opening three weeks of the season have been a struggle for the Rockets, though Cullop said the schedule will make UT better.
“I think our team is learning some great lessons. I wish we'd learn them a little quicker at times,” she said. “I still think, as long as we're learning along the way, this is a very smart plan.”