Old Dominion coach Karen Barefoot called Davidson a "dangerous team" days before her team's match-up against the Wildcats in the WNIT.
How right she was.
The Lady Monarchs found themselves at a disadvantage in size, experience and overall play in an 82-73 opening-round loss Thursday at the Constant Center.
"We started off very strong, but then we went away from it and played a little more individual basketball," Barefoot said. "Hopefully, the returners can look and see where we want to go and make some noise in the tournament in the future."
The Wildcats (22-12) played much bigger than their small-time Southern Conference roots. The Lady Monarchs (19-12) can only hope for better next season, their first in Conference USA.
Davidson had 27 points and 11 rebounds from league Player of the Year Sophia Aleksandravicius, who used her 6-foot-5 frame to bully the Lady Monarchs inside. Behind her performance, the Wildcats outrebounded ODU 57-34 and scored 44 points in the paint.
"They were getting second-chance opportunities," ODU forward Shae Kelley said. "That's what hurt us."
Stephanie Gardner had 15 points, four assists and three steals for ODU, while Kelley tied her career-high of 21 points.
ODU was in the midst of a competitive game, leading 25-24 with 9:44 to play in the first half. They then watched the contest fade away in remarkable fashion.
"We just got a little sluggish, let the game slip away from us," senior guard Jackie Cook said.
Davidson scored 17 points the rest of the half while holding ODU to just four. That one-point lead became a 41-29 halftime deficit. Despite some good ball movement on offense, a squad that prides itself on its baseline-to-baseline play couldn't outpace the Wildcats.
"We struggled to play our type of basketball," Gardner said. "We get our rhythm from defense, so if we're not getting steals, we're not playing pressure defense, then we're kind of bumpy on the offensive end."
The Lady Monarchs made several runs toward the end of the game, including an 11-5 spurt that put them within 10 after being down 18. But the gap proved too large and Davidson's size too much for ODU.
"We tried to make it a game," Barefoot said. "Second half, I felt like we had a couple opportunities right there. We missed some easy shots and some free throws."
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