By: Katie obear – Staff Writer
Dayton’s women’s basketball program currently has four alumnae playing professionally for international teams including former center Cassie Sant, point guard Samantha MacKay, forward Kendel Ross and forward Olivia Applewhite.
With four players going to professional teams, the international presence has helped with establishing a reputation for the women’s team, according to MacKay.
“I think that us being out there, puts [UD’s] name out there,” said Mackay.
“When we can tell people that our kids go to that level, then that is a positive that helps recruit our program,” head coach Jim Jabir said.
Sant plays for Virtus La Spezia and lives in La Spezia, Italy. She chose Italy after her team took a trip there in the fall of 2013.
“My senior season at Dayton we took a 10-day trip to Italy and I fell in love with the country: its history, the art, the people, and culture, so needless to say I jumped at my first opportunity to go back,” Sant said.
Sant is one of two Americans on her team: the other is Kama Griffits, who played at University of Arizona.
“This is our first year playing professionally so we came in not knowing what to expect,” Sant said.
Coming back to her second professional team, MacKay plays for Ztenkk, in the city of Zalagerszeg, Hungry.
She is currently the only American on her team, while the rest of her team consists of mostly Hungarian players and one player from Finland.
Ross currently lives in Madrid. Unlike MacKay, she has an American teammate, Sage Romberg, who played at Washington State, and also visited UD Arena in 2013 when the Flyers beat Romberg’s Washington State team 87-76.
With preseason workouts underway, Ross said she is making time to explore Madrid.
“San Miguel Mercado was probably my favorite [place] so far, a market near one of the major squares [in] downtown Madrid,” Ross said.
Former A-10 Sixth Player of the Year Applewhite rounds out the UD presence in Europe.
Last year, she was in Brize La Gaillarde, France, playing for Brize and this year is on the Waterford Wildcats in Ireland.
During the 2012-2013 season, Applewhite’s last year with the UD program, she played all but one game while averaging 17.2 minutes per game and 7.5 points per game.
Both MacKay and Sant offered advice for other University of Dayton players considering the opportunity to play professionally in another country.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and it really helps you grow not only as a player but as a person,” Sant said. “You are being pushed outside your comfort zone and in turn learn so much about yourself.”