By: Edward Perez – Staff Writer
After a fantastic run in the 2014-2015 season for the Dayton women’s basketball team, the new 2015-16 season is just around the corner and set to launch with an exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 6 against Gannon at 7 p.m. at UD Arena.
Another successful and exciting year is expected for the Flyers, but they will have quite a task to follow up one of the most successful seasons in program history.
The team ended the past season on a strong and unprecedented note, making it all way to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. The team ended its run with a final overall record of 28-7. The Flyers went 14-2 in Atlantic 10 regular season play, with both losses coming at the hands of George Washington. George Washington also defeated the Flyers in the Atlantic 10 tournament championship game, 75-62.
The team managed an almost perfect home record of 12-1 and even dominated at away games, ending the season with an 11-4 road record.
The season came to a sudden end when the Flyers faced top-seeded and two-time defending national champions Connecticut after beating Iowa State in the first round and upsetting two seed Kentucky and three seed Louisville to advance to the Elite Eight. At the end of the first half against UConn, the Flyers looked to upset the reigning champions with a halftime score of 44-43. It all came crashing down in the second half when the Flyers’ offense dulled and only managed to add 26 more points to their score, while the Huskies on the other hand added 48 more points to their score in the second half, ending the game with a score of 91-70 in favor of the Huskies.
Looking ahead for this upcoming season, the team has set some reachable goals.
“I just think back to last year and that feeling of content that we had that we knew we gave it our all that season and that we overachieved our goal of getting to the tournament,” senior guard Amber Deane said. “We definitely defied odds. I think if we are able to repeat that or even do better than that, then there would probably be no feeling better than that.”
Recently, the Atlantic 10 released the conference preseason predictions and rankings. The Flyers were ranked second and predicted to finish behind George Washington, who was ranked first by the majority of A-10 coaches.
“Our coach [Jabir] tries not to let us think about rankings and things like that,” Deane said. “It doesn’t surprise me that they [George Washington] were ranked ahead of us. They’re a really good team. This year, it’s definitely a goal for us to win every game, and obviously we will have to beat them… Jabir just wants us to do what we do.”
Senior guard Kelley Austria mentioned that the Flyers have always had an underdog tag associated with the team but says it helps drive them.
“[We] want to prove people wrong and prove that just because we’re smaller, doesn’t mean that we can’t beat those bigger schools. I think it helps me to work harder. It helps motivate us,” Austria said.
Deane adds that Jabir helps build confidence in the team by scheduling tough opponents ahead of the conference.
“Jabir helps with scheduling very tough teams,” Deane said, “We’re all very humble, at the end of the day we know that it’s always a team effort with us. We’re never one of those teams that has a superstar player that scores every point.”
Photo of senior guard Amber Deane during the Red-Blue Scrimmage by Multimedia Editor Chris Santucci.