DAYTON, Ohio -- Kendel Ross and Dayton are expecting big things this year. They sure kicked off their season in style Friday night.
Ross scored 14 points, including four free throws in the final 15.8 seconds, to help the Flyers upset No. 10 Michigan State 77-74 in the season opener for both teams.
"It's definitely exciting," Ross said. "We came in thinking we could win. This wasn't a surprise. We knew we'd be in it down the stretch. We feel like we can compete with top-10 teams."
Kristin Daugherty scored 17 points for Dayton, which earned its first-ever win against a top-10 team. Justine Raterman added 13 and Patrice Lalor had 10 points.
"This was huge," coach Jim Jabir said. "Beating a top-10 team is immeasurable. We really took a chance with this game. We heavily marketed it. We had a lot of youth groups here. We had recruits here. If we had lost by 30, it would have set the program back 30 years."
Courtney Schiffauer scored 21 points for the Spartans, who had won their last 10 season openers and hadn't opened on the road since losing 60-51 at Illinois State in 1993. Lykendra Johnson added 11 points and Allyssa Dehan and Porsche Poole each scored 10.
Johnson and Kalisha Keane fouled out and Aisha Jefferson and Jasmine Thomas finished with four fouls apiece. Jefferson was scoreless in 14 minutes in her return to her hometown.
The foul-prone Spartans were whistled for 29 personals, but Dayton made only 17-of-33 free throws.
"We needed some players to stay on the floor," Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said. "We fouled too much. They were taking it to us, and our solution was to foul instead of moving your feet. It's hard to win on the road when the other team shoots 33 free throws.
"It's good to figure out. We need to do a better job."
Daugherty scored four consecutive points to give the Flyers the lead for good at 66-63 with 5:02 left in the game.
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