Green Reminds Flyers Of 2015: “There’s Still More Basketball To Be Played”

Steve Miller
Sports Editor

A stellar regular season, an agonizing loss to George Washington in the conference tournament and a thirst for victory in the NCAA’s weigh on the minds of Dayton’s women’s basketball team. True today, that was also to the story of 2015.

And we all know how 2015 ended.

“I did remind our team of that in the locker room right after the game,” said coach Shauna Green reflecting on this year’s semifinal loss at the Richmond Coliseum.

“I said the last time that I lost in that arena was as an assistant [against GW] that year.”

The circumstances were slightly different, however, in 2015. George Washington had won the regular season and had defeated the Flyers twice already. GW was the conference juggernaut.

The Flyers celebrating after upsetting the Kentucky Wildcats, 99-94, on March 22, 2015. The team went on and defeated Louisville before falling to No. 1 UConn in the Elite Eight.

This year, the roles were reversed. Dayton came in with a 16-1 Atlantic 10 record having won both regular season games against the Colonials, who were just a five-seed. But based on each team’s performance, seeding was invisible.

“I give them credit because they played extremely well and really, really hard,” Green said of GW, not wanting to discount their success in the 58-53 loss for UD.

“I just didn’t think we played well. We just didn’t have that urgency, we didn’t have the edge that we’ve had for the previous two months.”
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But in the end, the predicted loss in 2015 and the upset loss in 2018 left the same bitter taste in the mouths of the team.

“I told them that I’ve never seen a team in that feeling. We were so disappointed. We wanted to win that tournament championship so bad,” Green said of the 2015 squad.

“And I didn’t feel like we were really excited about the NCAA Tournament until we got announced that night, and then we could focus in on that. So it was a really similar feeling that year to this year.”

She made sure to qualify her optimism with a laugh.

“I’m not saying we’re going to go to the Elite Eight — I hope that happens — but I want them to be excited and [believe] there’s still basketball left.”

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The Flyers now must wait. After GW won that semifinal game, they went on to win the A-10 Tournament the next day and clinch the automatic bid to the NCAA bracket. Even though Dayton completed the regular season with a 15-1 conference record, they’ll be at the mercy of the selection committee for an at-large bid that is becoming increasingly difficult for mid-major teams to win.

“I think we’re in the mix right now, and I think Buffalo was the other one they [predicted] as an at-large [bid],” Green said. “I don’t even know if there’s another one right now.”

The conference tournament, and subsequently the sought-after automatic NCAA bid, is difficult to win for anybody (three games in three days even for the one-seed). So the Flyers intentionally schedule each season to earn an at-large bid in case it becomes necessary.

“We obviously scheduled right this year to be RPI-wise [where we are],” Green said.
As of Wednesday, Dayton’s RPI stands at 33 (Duquesne is the next-highest in the conference with a 72).

“And then we won enough games in order to put ourselves in contention. And that’s all you can do. Now it’s up to the committee and hopefully our body of work speaks for itself.”
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Yet, the Flyers know they can, rather have, to do something in the meantime. Prepare.

They’re preparing with full intent on making the NCAA Tournament, striving to regain that competitive edge that eluded them last weekend in Richmond.

“The biggest thing that we’re doing this week is we’re competing,” Green said.

“We’re going live. Yesterday we went five-on-five and broke it into two teams and we competed. We have to get that edge back, we have to get that urgency back. It’s going to be a super competitive week.”

Competition is why each member of the team is here, after all.

“This is why you play college basketball — to make the NCAA Tournament,” Green said.

“We accomplished goal one. That was to win the outright regular season [title]. We didn’t accomplish goal two (the A-10 Tournament title). And now goal three is to make the NCAA Tournament. If we can accomplish that, that’s a pretty successful year. There’s still more basketball to be played.”

Photo Taken by Roberto De La Rosa-Finch and taken from The Times.