Davidson played four games last week. Three of those games were in three days at the Hostilo Hoops Community Classic, an event in Savannah, Georgia. The ‘Cats got off to a hot start in the event, with a dominant win over Austin Peay, but could not keep the momentum going through the rest of the week. In all of their games last week, they were missing key players.
vs. Austin Peay – Monday 11/21
FINAL: Davidson 62, Austin Peay 41
The ‘Cats dominated from start to finish against the Governors. Maddie Plank made her first career start in a Davidson uniform; it seems she replaced Chloe Welch, who did not play in this contest. And Sallie Schutz got her second consecutive start after Adelaide Fuller was out for the second consecutive game. Despite the missing players, the ‘Cats looked unphased. The ‘Cats got a 3-2 lead just over a minute into the first quarter and never looked back. Davidson did a great job preventing Austin Peay from getting baskets. Their previous low for points allowed in a quarter was 8. And in the first three quarters they allowed 6, 8, and 5 points, respectively. Austin Peay only made one three and two free throws for the entire third quarter. With a 28-point lead going into the fourth quarter, the ‘Cats cruised to victory.
vs. UIC – Tuesday 11/22
FINAL: UIC 63, Davidson 55
This game was extremely back and forth, with 16 lead changes. The game was tied at 28 at the half. UIC built a 6-point lead going into the fourth, but Davidson went on an 8-0 run to retake the lead, where Elle Sutphin scored 6 of the 8 points. After the run, the score sat at 51-49, but UIC answered with a 3. And each of the next four made buckets in the game caused lead changes. Unfortunately, Maddie Plank’s jumper with 4:23 left would be last time Davidson scored in the game. UIC finished on a 9-0 to walk away victorious.
vs. Fairleigh Dickinson – Wednesday 11/23
FINAL: Fairleigh Dickinson 49, Davidson 43
Davidson fell in another close game, this time to the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights. Head coach Gayle Coats Fulks was unable to lead her team to victory over the Knights, the team she played for from 2003-2007. Chloe Welch and Adelaide Fuller still did not suit up for this one, and they were now joined by Issy Morgan, meaning three of the five opening-day starters were inactive. But Davidson got out to a solid lead; they were up 13-5 with just over three minutes left in the first quarter. However, the ‘Cats couldn’t score for the rest of quarter. The Knights went on a quick 12-0 run, scoring 12 points in 6 posessions. The Knights now had the lead, and though the ‘Cats would take 1-point leads twice later in the game, they were never able to build anything substantial. They stayed in it the whole way, trailing by just 1 with 3 minutes left in the game. But unfortunately they couldn’t get the win. Coach Fulks graciously congratulated her former team in the FDU locker room after the game.
at Appalachian St – Sunday 11/27
FINAL: App State 84, Davidson 82
Surely after losing two close games the ‘Cats would be able to take a close game of their own, right? Unfortunately, that was not the story, and the way Davidson would lose could not have been more dramatic. Davidson had a 25-16 lead after the first, but App State quickly got the lead early into the second. The Mountaineers stretched their lead to 10 in a dominant second quarter. The ‘Cats were slowly able to chip away at their lead, however, and only trailed by 4 going into the final quarter of play. Every time Davidson would pull closer to retaking the lead in this quarter, App State would sucessfully hold them off. Elle Sutphin got the ‘Cats back within 1 with a minute and a half left. App State was up 82-81; it was now or never for Davidson to take the lead. But Davidson couldn’t score on their next few possesions. App State led 84-81 after a couple trips to the free throw line, and Davidson had 4 seconds to tie the game.
Rosie Deegan got the ball after the inbound. She put up a three. It missed, but Tomisin Adenupe got a strong offensive rebound. Adenupe hoisted it back up from the paint. The ball bounced up off the rim and went in! And the ref signaled to count the basket and send Adenupe to the free-throw line for an and-1! Adenupe, who was 13-25 from the line on her career at the time, had the chance to tie the game and send it to overtime. The refs went to the monintor, and the commentators were under the impression that they were checking to see if Adenupe got the ball off in time. The ball was very close to her fingertips when the buzzer sounded. The refs erased the basket, but not because she didn’t get it off in time. They said she was bumped on the floor when getting the rebound. So instead of shooting one basket to tie the game, she had two free-throw attempts that would only be able to get the ‘Cats within 1. She made the first and missed the second, likely on purpose. But the ‘Cats couldn’t get the rebound and came up short of victory again.
Davidson being out so many players is clearly a major storyline in their early season. Cameron Tabor hasn’t played since she appeared to get hurt during the season opener against High Point. Adelaide Fuller has been out since Davidson’s home opener against Duke. Chloe Welch has missed four consecutive games. And Issy Morgan has missed two consecutive games. Not to mention, Peyton Carter, who played just over 3 minutes per game in her junior season, is out this year. Given that Davidson star Rosie Deegan missed time in each of the last two seasons, it seems Davidson has not been able to catch a break for really three seasons in a row now. And given how much young talent Davidson had on their bench going into this season, it’s unfortunate that they haven’t been able to take advantage of it. On the flipside, this has provided these young players oppurtunities they would not have had otherwise. Sophomores Tominsin Adenupe, Sallie Schutz (redshirt), and Maddie Plank (redshirt) have each found time in the starting lineup. Mallorie Haines, also a sophomore, has seen significant minutes off the bench. These minutes could prove to be very valuable. And regardless of what has happened up to this point this season, one thing is for certain: Davidson is 0-0 in conference play. The ‘Cats have plenty of time to get things together come conference season.
And there were still some bright spots in this week’s games. The Wildcat’s defense was stout against Austin Peay. In addition to allowing 19 points in the first three quarters, they held Austin Peay to a 28.1% effective field goal percentage. This is the best they’ve held an opponent to this season, with their second best being the 43.2% they held Fairleigh Dickinson to on Wednesday. The ‘Cats clearly can compete even without some key players; it just seemed they lost some steam near the end of their losses this week. Given that they played three games in three days and another game later in the week, this seems understandable. One other bright spot is that Davidson signed Chloe Oliver, a 5-8 guard out of Quebec earlier this week!
The ‘Cats play two games this week. On Wednesday, they play Wofford at 11 AM, and on Sunday they play Jacksonville State at 3 PM. Both games will be aired on ESPN+. We will see if any players who were out can return to action.