Shauna Green (cover photo) has been the UD women’s head basketball coach since 2016. Photo taken by Flyer News during the ’18-’19 season.
The goal does not change from year to year for Dayton women’s basketball head coach Shauna Green. Regardless of previous seasons’ highs and lows, transfers and departures, the mission remains the same for the Flyers.
“The goal is always to win championships,” said Green. She is in her fourth year at the helm of the women’s team and has had great success since she took over in 2016. The Flyers made the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and 2018, and a trip to the women’s NIT in 2019 extended the program’s postseason appearances streak to 11 straight years.
After a rigorous summer and early fall of workouts and team-building, Green is excited to see how her squad’s hard work will pay off on the court and affect their quest for an Atlantic 10 championship and another bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m excited to see the growth that [the team] has shown this summer in multiple areas all come together,” Green said. “I think we learned a lot from last year. This is a veteran team. They know that we weren’t happy with some of those close losses [last year]. Our whole focus this off-season was about finishing.”
The Flyers finished their 2018-2019 campaign with a record of 17-14 along with a 10-6 record in A-10 play. Their loss to VCU, the No. 1 overall seed, in the semifinals of the conference tournament last season dashed their hopes of a bid to the NCAA Tournament. At a score of 61-52, the Flyers were well within reach of the A-10 Championship game. Knowing that every game counts, Green wants her squad to predicate their season on playing full speed and giving maximum effort for four quarters every game.
“We want to turn those close games, where we ended up in the loss column, to wins,” Green said. “That’s about being detailed, finishing and being consistent every single day. This group so far has shown that. We’d had one of the best summers we’ve ever had.”
Green is right when she says that her team is comprised of veterans. Aside from losing former guard Lauren Cannatelli, the team returns a group of formidable starters and a deep bench. The A-10’s preseason poll has Dayton ranked at No. 2 in the conference behind VCU, who has held the preseason No. 1 spot for two straight years.
A large influence on the optimism surrounding this year’s team comes from the return of senior guard and last season’s leading scorer Jayla Scaife. As a First Team All-Conference selection for the 2018-2019 season, Scaife averaged 15.7 points per game and was also named to the A-10 All-Championship team. Scaife echoed Green’s sentiments and goals regarding and NCAA Tournament appearance and an A-10 Championship and emphasized the importance of applying their hard work in practice to their games.
“We need to be confident in doing what we already know how to do,” Scaife said. “I think being chosen second [in the preseason poll] is going to help us get motivated. Obviously nobody wants to be second; everyone wants to be first. Since we know that we can be in that position, it’s going to motivate us.”
For all the attention Scaife gets for her offensive game, she has a somewhat surprising individual goal for herself this upcoming season, one that will hopefully set the tone for the team as a whole.
“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 can do that, I feel like I’ll have accomplished everything I’ve wanted to do [at Dayton].”
Along with the return of a defensive-minded and offensively-talented Scaife, Dayton will look to several returning players to continue their development and contribute meaningfully to their 2019-2020 campaign. One such player is redshirt junior guard Araion Bradshaw. In her debut season with the Flyers, Bradshaw shot .359 from the field while putting up 89 assists. As a primary ball carrier and point guard, Bradshaw will be counted on to facilitate the Flyer offense.
Redshirt senior forward Julia Chandler will look to build on her strong 2018-2019 season, a year that saw her shoot .429 from the field along with grabbing 97 total rebounds. A transfer from Syracuse after the 2016-2017 season, Chandler’s versatility as a forward will aid the Flyer offense down the stretch.
While last season’s numbers should give fans reason for excitement regarding the potential of this year’s team, Green understands that success is not purely a consequence of good team statistics. Leadership will be key for this group as they continue to evolve more and more into a formidable A-10 contender.
“In terms of last year, I think that some of our issues were leadership. I don’t think we had great leadership at times, “ Green said. “That has been a focus this offseason as well. We have a leadership group now; seven of our kids are in that group and had to apply. Our sports psychologist Dr. Cook leads it, I’m in it as well…we’ve been very intentional in trying to teach them how to be leaders.”
With leadership perhaps being the missing piece to an already gifted squad, expectations are high in the minds of fans and players alike. This team is built for a deep run in conference play, the A-10 Tournament and beyond. With non-conference play just around the corner, the team’s talent will be on display and tested for all to see. Their coaching, their skills and their drive all point toward a season filled with success.
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