Davidson WBB Weekly Recap: ‘Cats Catch Fire on Win Streak!

Davidson looked to carry the momentum from their largest victory of the season, which came over St. Bonaventure last week, into their contests against VCU and Duquesne. Fortunately for us, they kept things rolling, and are now on a 3-game win streak, back near the top of the A10 following a couple of canceled games. Let’s dive in!

@ VCU, 1/18

Davidson 71, VCU 60

This was an extremely back-and-forth affair in the first half, with both teams shooting quite well from the floor. The ‘Cats and Rams exchanged the lead a total of 7 times before the intermission; however, Maddie Plank’s go-ahead three with 0:27 to play in Q2 would give Davidson the lead for good. Plank hit two threes in the midst of a 15-4 run that lasted from 1:30 in the 2Q to 5:59 in the 3Q. That run and a 22-13 advantage in the 3rd frame would prove to be decisive, though VCU managed to trim the deficit to two possessions in the 4th, sparked by Sarah Te-Biasu’s 30-point outing.

Stats of Note

Each of Davidson’s starters scored at least 8 points in this one. Issy Morgan led the way with 18, her high for the season up to that point (it wouldn’t stay that way for long!). It was the 4th double-double of the season for Elle Sutphin, who contributed 16 and 10 plus a strong defensive showing with 3 steals and 2 blocks. Adelaide Fuller also recorded her season high with 9 points on a perfect 4/4 shooting line. 7 of Rosie Deegan’s 13 came in Q3, helping spark Davidson’s winning edge much like Maddie Plank’s aforementioned triples. Overall, it was a dominant offensive performance on the road. While the long ball proved big for Davidson, this game was won in the post: the ‘Cats held a decisive 40-26 edge on points in the paint. This was the 6th time this season Davidson shot better than 50% from the floor, shooting at a 54.9% clip. They also clamped VCU’s offense during their big 2nd and 3rd quarters, holding the Rams to 30.8% shooting in those two frames.

@ Duquesne, 1/22

Davidson 66, Duquesne 65

In a crucial game for A10 positioning, this one was every bit as thrilling as the final score indicates, and then some! It was a similar story to VCU early on, as the ‘Cats built a large advantage around halftime sparked by some exceptional shooting. Issy Morgan was once again phenomenal; she hit 4 threes en route to 16 points in the first half, enough to tie her career high in triples. The lead got as large as 11, bolstered by another run centered around halftime: the ‘Cats outscored the Dukes 13-4 over 5 minutes of play to stretch the advantage to 44-33. However, Duquesne trimmed the deficit to 4 as Q3 came to its conclusion. Their comeback would continue until they finally recaptured the lead, setting up an electric finish. With the game knotted at 56, the Dukes’ Tess Myers hit a go-ahead three, only to be immediately answered by a Maddie Plank triple. But the two weren’t done with the fireworks. Myers hit another three, only to be answered by a Plank layup and ANOTHER clutch Plank three on Davidson’s ensuing possession, putting Davidson up 64-62 with 0:16 to play. With the game on the line for the Dukes, Myers put up another shot from the wing, nailed her third triple in a row, and got a foul call! Fortunately for the ‘Cats, she missed her four-point play opportunity, leaving it 65-64 Dukes, giving Davidson a chance to steal the win. Elle Sutphin got the ball in the post, made a strong move to the rim, and was rewarded with a trip to the free throw line. She sank both, leaving Duquesne with only two seconds to muster a shot. Forcing a well-defended Ayanna Townsend to miss at the buzzer, Davidson stunned the Dukes 66-65!

Stats of Note

This was the sternest defensive test of Davidson’s road trip, and they handled it brilliantly, continuing their offensive success from the previous two games. Despite Duquesne only allowing their opponents to shoot at a 40.9 eFG% on the season entering the game, the ‘Cats hit 11 threes at a 40.7% clip. That was good for a 48.2 eFG%, well above the Dukes’ average allowed. Issy Morgan was your Cats Stats Player of the Game, and for good reason: she set a new career high with her 20 point outing! However, Davidson’s couldn’t have done it without Maddie Plank’s clutch play. Her 8 points in the closing minutes kept Davidson alive. She scored 15 in total and hit 3 threes of her own. Elle Sutphin was, of course, instrumental as well, scoring 13 and connecting on the 2 go-ahead free throws. Rosie Deegan also broke into double figures at 10, and Mallorie Haines continued her hot shooting, hitting a three for the 4th consecutive game.

The Big Picture & Other Tidbits

  • We talked a lot about Issy Morgan’s huge week, and her contributions during the win streak have been massive:
    • a new career high of 20!
    • an average of 16.7/4/3 per game
    • 57.7% shooting (78.8 TS%!) and 7/15 on threes
    • 22 consecutive made FTs going back to the NC State game on December 15
  • You probably thus won’t be surprised to learn Morgan won her first career A10 Player of the Week award. Congratulations to her!
  • Her play has certainly helped to elevate an already great offense to another level. As a team, Davidson has caught fire following their pause in play. During the win streak, the ‘Cats have:
    • Hit 28 threes at exactly a 40% rate
    • Shot a highly efficient 52.5 eFG%
    • Gone 32/35 from the charity stripe, good for an incredible 91.4 FT%!
    • Averaged 70.0 PPG
  • Within conference play, Davidson sits at 4th in FG% (41.6%) and 3rd in 3PT% (36.4%). With everyone at last healthy, the Davidson offense is just starting to show the heights it’s capable of.
  • Elle Sutphin sits 5th in the A10 in scoring at 17.0 PPG, and she’s scored in double figures in 8 consecutive games. In fact, she’s been held to single digits in only 2 of her appearances this season! She also sits at 10th in rebounding at 7.5 RPG. Rosie Deegan sits just outside the top 10 in scoring, at 13.4 PPG in 11th. Both are trending to be all-conference selections.
  • With their 3-game win streak, Davidson now sits at 3-2 in the A10 and 10-9 on the season. This puts Davidson at 5th in the A10 standings, only one spot outside of the top 4 double bye position at the A10 tournament! They’re trailing La Salle (4-2) by only 0.5 games, with a chance to extend the win streak this week against St. Louis (2-4) and George Mason (3-4). Getting two wins this week to reach 5-2 within conference play would be pivotal. St. Louis will be in Belk Wednesday night at 7 PM, with a trip to Mason on Saturday tipping at 3 PM. Both games this week will be on ESPN+.

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