Davidson entered the season with a lot of optimism. Head coach Gayle Coats Fulks enters her sixth season. Last season, Davidson finshed 6-10 in the conference but had some notable results late in the season. They beat the eventual A10 Tournament champion UMass. They also nearly beat the A10 regular season champion Dayton, falling in overtime in the A10 Tournament.
The Wildcats also have a strong, experienced starting five. Currently, the starting five consists of Chloe Welch, Rosie Deegan, Elle Sutphin, Issy Morgan, and Adelaide Fuller. Davidson fans should be glad to see both Welch and Deegan in the starting lineup. Welch is returning for her fifth season, and Deegan saw limited action last season due to injury. Both Welch and Deegan averaged over 10 points per game last season as well as Elle Sutphin, who led the team with 13.4 PPG. Issy Morgan is also a starter for the ‘Cats after she earned a spot on the A10 All-Rookie Team last season. Adelaide Fuller, a senior, rounds out the starting five and looks to see an increased role after averaging 17.8 minutes per game in her junior season. The ‘Cats also have a deep bench filled with both newcomers and returning players. Perhaps the most notable newcomer is Maddie Plank, a redshirt sophmore guard who transfered from Princeton.
It was time to finally put this roster to the test.
at High Point – Monday 11/7
FINAL: Davidson 77, High Point 64
Davidson struggled in the opening quarter of this game. High Point led 18-14 after the first quarter and had a lead as large as 9. Davidson players also turned the ball over 8 times in this quarter. But the ‘Cats would quickly turn things around. Adelaide Fuller made a layup under a minute into the second quarter that tied the game at 18. And Davidson would not look back. After a dominant third quarter where they outscored High Point 29-15, they led by 19 points going into the fourth quarter, a difference that High Point couldn’t claw back. Of note, midway through the game, Cameron Tabor had an awkard fall and would not return to the game. Tabor, a senior, averaged over 20 minutes per game last season.
Rosie Deegan led Davidson in scoring with 16 points on 7-9 shooting. Chloe Welch led the team with 9 rebounds and scored 13 points. Welch also had 3 assists and 0 turnovers through a team-high 34 minutes. Issy Morgan had a team-high 5 assists. Maddie Plank played 20 minutes and had 9 points off 3-4 shooting in her first game as a Wildcat. As a team, Davidson shot 54.5% from the field, 31.3% from three, and 48% from the line.
vs. Duke – Saturday 11/12
FINAL: Duke 60, Davidson 37
The ‘Cats were unfortunately not able to avenge their 30-point loss to Duke 3 seasons ago. But despite the final score, the ‘Cats battled in this one. Davidson earned the lead just under 3 minutes into the game when a three by Issy Morgan put the ‘Cats up 3-2. Unfortunatley, however, they would not have the lead again. The game was tied at 19 just before halftime, but Duke led 26-19 when the half concluded. At the start of the third, Rosie Deegan appeared to give the ‘Cats some momentum by making threes on consecutive possesions to put the ‘Cats within 5. But Davidson would not score for the rest of the quarter, and Duke’s 15-0 run that followed Deegan’s threes was enough to put the ‘Cats away. Cameron Tabor, who appeared to get hurt in the previous game against High Point, did not play in this competition, nor did Tominsin Adenupe after she played 16 minutes against High Point.
Welch had had balanced stat line with a team-high 12 points, 7 rebounds, and a team-high 4 assists. Deegan nearly had a double-double, recording 9 points and 10 rebounds. The team shot 23.3% from the field, 25.8% from deep, and were 50% from the line on two attempts.
An interesting trend of these first two games is that the ‘Cats leading scorers scored in spurts. This was especially apparent in the Duke game. Welch, Deegan, and Sutphin were the ‘Cats three leading scorers. 9 of Welch’s 12 points came in a 6-minute stretch in the fourth quarter. All 9 of Deegan’s points came in a 7-minute stretch across the second and third quarters. And all 9 of Sutphin’s points came in a 10-minute stretch across the first and second quarters.
This trend was less apparent in the High Point game but still happened to an extent. The three leading scorers in this game were the same as in the Duke game. 12 of Deegan’s 16 came in the first half, 10 of Welch’s 13 came in the second half, and 11 of Sutphin’s 13 came in the second half. Of course, it should be noted this is a very small sample size of 2 games, one of which was pretty low-scoring by Davidson’s standards. And the reason for this trend could simply be attributed to the nature of momentum in college basketball or the changing defensive strategies employed by Davidson’s opponents throughout the games. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see if the trend continues going into this week.
Davidson has just one game this week. They will face off against #19 Maryland in College Park on Wednesday at 11:00 AM. Davidson last and only game against Maryland happened during the 2020-2021 season, a 94-72 loss for the ‘Cats. Davidson’s A10 rival Fordham trailed Maryland by 1 at the half this past Sunday and ultimately lost 83-76.