KATY, Texas (ODUSports.com) – The Old Dominion women’s basketball team won the 1,100th game in program history with a 67-50 result over Saint Joseph’s to open the Van Chancellor Classic on Friday. Along the way, senior Ajah Wayne became the 34th member of the 1,000-point club at ODU.
“This felt so good,” head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones said. “I’m super excited for our program. We didn’t do as great a job as I would have liked defending the 3-point line, but when it came to offensive rebounding and having a bull like Ajah Wayne getting timely baskets, you can’t ask for more.”
The Monarchs (3-2) led wire-to-wire behind a lockdown defensive performance in the first quarter. ODU limited Saint Joseph’s (1-4) to four points on 1-of-10 shooting with five turnovers in the first and led 13-4 after 10 minutes. Iggy Allen scored the first seven points of the game and was 3-for-3 from the field in the opening period.
Old Dominion kept SJU off the board for the first 6:49 of the game. Saint Joseph’s finally scored by way of a Talya Brugler layup at the 3:11 mark, breaking a 9-0 game-opening run by the Monarchs.
The shots started falling for SJU in the second quarter. The Hawks shot 6-of-15 (.400) from the floor in the second and were 2-of-4 from 3-point range. A pair of foul shots from Wayne put ODU on top 19-9 with just over five minutes to play in the half, but a 9-2 run from SJU made it a one-score game, 21-18, with 1:57 left on the clock. Kaye Clark stopped the Hawks’ run with a corner 3-pointer at the 1:23 mark then closed out the half with a jumper inside the one-minute mark to make the score 26-20 at the break.
ODU shot 34.5 percent from the field in the first half and was 2-for-5 from deep. Saint Joseph’s shot below 30 percent from the field (.280) and 3-point range (.286) in the first.
Saint Joseph’s shot 61.5 percent in the third quarter to get firmly back in the game. SJU made it a five-point margin on an Alayna Gribble 3-pointer after two minutes of action in the third quarter, but Mariah Adams immediately answered with a 3-pointer of her own, one of two in the period for Adams. The ODU lead dipped to three at 31-28 with 6:44 left in the quarter before Adams drilled another trey to double up the Monarchs’ advantage. From there, Saint Joseph’s scored nine of the next 12 points to tie the score at 37-37 with 3:23 to play. The score stayed tied for less than 20 seconds as Adams capped off an eight-point third quarter with a jumper to restore ODU’s advantage. Saint Joseph’s scored in the closing seconds of the period to make it a one-point game, 42-41, heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
Adams scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting in the third quarter and was 2-for-2 from deep. For the game, the senior guard had a career-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting with five rebounds and a personal-best-tying six assists.
Wayne, who had so far been held to two points without a basket, exploded for 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the fourth quarter, propelling the Monarchs to the win. Wayne had five offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter, and three of her five baskets followed an offensive rebound.
“She never stops, and I love that about her,” Milton-Jones said. “She has a relentless mindset. She understands that she may not be scoring but she can impact the game in monumental ways.”
Wayne hit a major milestone less than 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, when she corralled a missed 3-pointer and laid it back in. The basket gave ODU a 44-41 advantage and gave Wayne her 1,000th career point.
Wayne finished the game with 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Seven of her nine rebounds came on the offensive end of the court. She is now 34th in all-time points at ODU (1,009).
SJU tied the score at 46-all with 7:24 to play in the game. Mackenzie Smith’s 3-pointer would be the second-to-last made basket of the game for the Hawks as the Monarchs closed out the game on a 21-4 run.
Defensively, Old Dominion held Saint Joseph’s to 3-of-13 shooting in the fourth, including a 1-of-6 mark from long range. The Hawks missed seven of their last eight shot attempts.
“We always try to hang our hat on the defensive end, and when it suffers, we can allow teams to get back in the game,” Milton-Jones said. “When we hunker down, we can extend leads and walk away with victories.”
ODU had its best offensive outing of the young season, posting season highs in field goal percentage (.435) and 3-point field goal percentage (.429) alongside a season-low nine turnovers. The Monarchs’ six made treys are the most this season.
“We had great wide-open looks because of the motion of our offense, and then it’s just a regular shooting drill in the middle of the game,” Milton-Jones said.
Four Monarchs finished the game with 10-plus points. Joining Adams and Wayne in double figures were Iggy Allen with a game-high 15 points and Amari Young with 10.
Kaye Clark chipped in seven points on 3-of-5 shooting and set a new season high with three assists. Brianna Jackson added seven points, five rebounds and two steals.
ODU outrebounded SJU 40-31. The Monarchs are 3-0 this season when winning the battle of the boards and 11-3 when doing so under Milton-Jones.
The Monarchs become the eighth Division I women’s basketball program to win 1,100 games. ODU joins the likes of Tennessee, UConn, James Madison, Louisiana Tech, Stanford, Texas and Stephen F. Austin.
The Van Chancellor Classic continues tomorrow as the Monarchs take on Texas Tech at 2:30 p.m. ET.