Can Jayla Scaife Take Her Game and UD Women’s Basketball to the Next Level?
Jayla Scaife (cover photo) is one of UD’s standout athletes. Courtesy of Christian Cubacub
Senior guard Jayla Scaife is no stranger to stardom. From the beginning of her high school career until now, she has consistently been one of the best players on the court.
Scaife’s high school career was illustrious to say the least. Not only was she playing varsity from day one, Scaife was First Team All-North Central Conference all four years of high school. After finishing her career as the all-time leading scorer and rebounder at Muncie Central, she was named a McDonald’s All-American nominee.
Scaife immediately began contributing on the court when she arrived at Dayton. She was named to the A-10 All-Rookie Team after averaging 6.1 points-per-game off the bench. Scaife’s role increased during her sophomore season when she was added to the starting lineup. With the increased role came increased productivity. Scaife bumped her scoring average to 14.5 points-per-game and was named Second Team All-Conference.
Last season, even more responsibility was put on Scaife’s shoulders. With the departure of Jenna Burdette in 2018, Scaife stepped in as the Flyer’s primary scorer. Leading the Flyers with 15.7 points-per-game earned her a First Team All-Conference.
If Scaife never played another minute of basketball for the Flyers, her career would no doubt still be impressive. Her impressive performances in college caught the eye of USA Basketball.
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In May, Scaife took part in USA Basketball’s training camps for the Pan-American Games. Going against high-level competition, there’s a lot of growth from the training camp to bring into the upcoming season.
“One of the main things I learned from that camp, with a lot of quick guards and tall bigs, was actually being able to get around the guards and score around the bigs,” Scaife said. “Just being able to create my own shot and create shots for others.”
Scaife’s ambitions extend beyond on growing from what she learned at the camp, and matching her all-conference status for last season.
“My one overall goal is to be the A-10 Defensive Player of the Year,” Scaife said. “Defense is not my strongest suit, so if I do that I feel like I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted to individually.”
The “-est” in “strongest” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that quote. Despite scoring being Scaife’s calling card, she’s no slouch on defense as she was named First Team Preseason All-Defense in the A-10. She had the most blocks last year and the second most steals on Dayton last year, while guarding the other team’s best perimeter player.
Scaife was also named Preseason First Team All-Conference prior to this season. Scaife is the only Dayton player to appear on any of the three preseason all-conference teams. This is especially impressive considering that Dayton was picked to finish second in the A-10, meaning the voters think very highly of Scaife.
Despite only finishing fourth in the A-10 one season ago, Scaife isn’t satisfied with being the runner-up.
“The obvious goals are winning the A-10 and making a run in the NCAA tournament,” Scaife said. “We just need to be confident in what we know how to do. Obviously nobody wants to be second. I think being chosen second is going to be a good boost for us, to help get us motivated.”
No matter what happens this season, Dayton will be losing a truly great player in Scaife when it ends. If she leads the team to an A-10 championship, or even an NCAA Tournament run, she could end her career as a legend.
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