Dayton beats DePaul 88-57 in inaugural women’s First Four

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AMES, Iowa — Erin Whalen scored a career-high 28 points, hitting seven of Dayton’s 13 3-pointers and the 11th-seeded Flyers eased past DePaul 88-57 on Wednesday night in the inaugural women’s First Four.

Dayton (26-5), making its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance, advanced to play No. 6 seed Georgia on Friday in the Greensboro Region.

Jenna Giacone scored 19 of her 21 points in a dominate first half for the Flyers.

Dayton made 11 of 13 3-pointers in the first half while holding DePaul, the nation’s scoring leader at 88.3 points a game, to just 11 of 37 from the field. Whalen made Dayton’s eighth straight 3-pointer of the first half for a 46-27 lead. The Flyers entered averaging 5.9 3-pointers per game.

Whalen and Giacone combined for three 3-pointers during a 9-0 run in the first quarter and they added five 3-pointers in the opening seven minutes of the second quarter. Whalen and Giacone scored 19 straight Dayton points in the second quarter before a Makira Cook basket gave the Flyers a 19-point lead with 1:41 left.

Giacone made all four of her 3-point attempts in the first half and 6 of 8 shots overall. Whalen added 17 points and Cook had 14 to help Dayton build a 55-32 lead at the break.

Cook finished with 16 points and Tenin Magassa had eight points, 14 rebounds and seven of Dayton’s season-high 15 blocks. Giacone added five blocks. The Flyers, the Atlantic 10 regular-season champs, held opponents to 54.7 points a game this season.

DePaul shot just 27.1%.

Star freshman Aneesah Morrow had 28 points and 17 rebounds for her nation-leading 27th double-double of the season in 33 games for DePaul (22-11). Lexi Held added nine points for the Blue Demons, who had just eight players available.