Every year, seniors on a team graduate, leaving the previous year’s juniors to take the place as the leaders of the team.
This season’s women’s basketball team roster is young, comprising of six freshmen, two sophomores, a junior and three seniors. The three seniors leading the young Flyers this season are guard Samantha MacKay and forwards Olivia Applewhite and redshirt Brittany Wilson.
According to Wilson, being the leader of an entire team isn’t an easy role to fulfill, especially when you find yourself in a reversal of roles.
“It’s different, I know with me being a fifth year,” Wilson said. “When I came in, we had seven freshmen. So, it’s a different position.”
MacKay has seen her minutes increase every year. Mainly coming off the bench throughout her junior year, she scored five points per game while averaging 14.6 minutes of court time. Her high scoring game last year was against the University of Rhode Island, in which she scored a career-high 16 points.
Since her freshman year, head coach Jim Jabir said Applewhite has progressively gotten better every year. She played a career-high in minutes her junior year, averaging 4.8 points per game and grabbing 3.8 rebounds per game. Her highlights last season include snagging 18 rebounds against Fairleigh Dickinson University and scoring a career-high 18 points versus Rhode Island.
Wilson was redshirted during her freshman year. She earned her first career start during her redshirt sophomore season against Michigan State University, scoring 16 points. Last year, Wilson was redshirted again after undergoing surgery on her ACL she tore during the preseason. Now going into her fifth year, Wilson said she is ready to lead the Flyers to victory.
The Flyers were eager to get the preseason under way Saturday, Nov. 3, against last season’s NCAA Division II runner-up Ashland University in an exhibition game at UD Arena.
Up by ten in the second half, everything was going the Flyers’ way. Minutes later, Ashland clawed back into the game and knotted the score at 68 a piece.
Down two, Ashland had the ball with 1.3 seconds left on the clock. Junior guard Lindsay Tenyak hit a three-pointer as time expired to lead Ashland to a 79-77 win over Dayton.
Dayton’s seniors said they were heartbroken following their opening loss in the exhibition. The seniors said they could not help but think they had let the team down and the loss was on them.
“We didn’t perform well as leaders,” said MacKay.
Despite the early set back, Applewhite said she doesn’t believe it will affect the way the team will perform.
“I think we have a really talented team,” Applewhite said. “A lot of our freshmen have helped us a lot this year. Coach has been preaching to us, ‘We can’t just turn it on and off.’ We just didn’t bring the intensity.”
MacKay also added, “Last week at [the University of Kentucky], we were a completely different team, even though we weren’t doing things right. So we just have to learn how to play consistently.”