By: Edward Perez – Staff Writer
Changes have come to the women’s basketball since the last season that ended for them with an overall record of 14-15. The Flyer faithful wants to know whether new head coach Shauna Green will be able to manage the Flyers as successfully as Jim Jabir, who took his team to the Elite 8 in the NCAA national basketball tournament in the 2014-2015 season, where they fell to top-ranked Connecticut.
Green and the Flyers faith a daunting schedule as they look to re-cement themselves at the top of the Atlantic 10. “Our schedule is really tough, but I think it’ll be really fun,” said junior guard Jenna Burdette enthusiastically. “We have a lot of cool away games.”
The biggest circle on their schedule is an away contest at UConn on Nov. 22, a rematch of 2015 regional final. Currently ranked No. 3 in the nation, the Huskies are reigning national champions four years running
“I know we’re all excited to play them again, and it’ll set us up for the rest of the year,” said Burdette, who started as a freshman during that 2015 tournament run.
“We’re just going to treat them like any other team,” said sophomore guard Lauren Cannatelli. “They put their jerseys on just like anybody else does, so we’re gonna go in, we’re gonna play the hardest we can, and we’re gonna prepare just like any other team and take it one day at a time.”
Later the same week as the Connecticut game, the team travels down to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam while the rest of the student body travels home for Thanksgiving. The Flyers will take on Georgia Tech and one additional opponent.
In their quest for success on the court, though, Dayton does have a unique advantage–UD Arena.
Recently, ESPN released an article titled, Which Atlantic 10 venue is the toughest place to win? In the article, written by Myron Medcalf, ESPN ranked the UD Arena as the toughest venue to win an Atlantic 10 Conference game atr the VCU’s Siegel Center and Davidson’s John M. Belk Arena.
“This isn’t an arena. It’s a horror flick for opposing teams,” Medcalf wrote. “Don’t believe us? Ask Dayton officials if it’s easy to schedule nonconference games at UD Arena. It’s not. But you wouldn’t want any part of that Stephen King experience if you were a Division I head coach, either.”
Dayton’s season kicks off in an exhibition game against Grand Valley State on November 6th at the UD Arena. Green’s team follows the exhibition match with another home game to begin the regular season against Quinnipiac on Nov. 13. They travel to Wisconsin for their first away game of the season on Nov. 16.
After the Red-Blue scrimmage that held at the UD Arena, Coach Green said, “it was good to get out there and get the first nerves out, you can tell in the first couple minutes [the team] was nervous.”
Coach Green says that the team looked sharp offensively but acknowledged that there was still much to do with the defense. Until the first game, the team can only practice and prepare before they head into the season.
University of Dayton Vice President and Director of Athletics Neil Sullivan backs Coach Green and says, “Shauna has been an important part of our women’s basketball success since 2012 and she is well-positioned to continue the program’s strong momentum. She believes in our values and has a deep commitment to the women on our team. She has coached many players on the roster, and is the right person to lead our women’s basketball program.”
President Eric Spina also backs Coach Green and says, “After meeting with Shauna, it is clear to me that she truly cares about helping student-athletes succeed in all aspects of their UD experience – both in the classroom and on the court. She has a tremendous affinity for our University and is superbly prepared to lead this important program; she will absolutely continue our tradition of excellence in women’s basketball.”