By: Dan Durkin – Staff Writer
This year, the Dayton women’s basketball team is set to begin a new season, a season without Ally Malott and Andrea Hoover.
After graduating last season, Malott and Hoover’s legacy remains at UD, especially with their play last year, which led the team to the Elite Eight. Looking to fill that leadership void this year are seniors Kelley Austria, Amber Deane and Jodie Cornelie-Sigmundova.
All three were key contributors to the Flyers Elite Eight run last year, but they will look to have an even bigger role this year. Head coach Jim Jabir is challenging Austria and Deane to become the leaders of this team.
“We want them to become more vocal, more outward and more consumed with their teammates,” Jabir said. “They are trying, and I’ve been challenging them to do more and be more – you can see them really working at it more.”
Jabir has implored them to play more aggressive and to have their play be an example for the younger players to follow.
Austria and Deane have high expectations for this year.
“We believe we can win every game on our schedule,” Austria said. “We want to excel in our regular season and postseason like we did last year.”
They know with being seniors now comes new responsibilities.
“Our coach wants us to be more vocal leaders, which is more natural for Amber than me, and I should try and lead more by example,” Austria added.
They’re hoping they can recapture that team chemistry from last year and go on a tournament run.
Austria and Deane know replacing two great players in Malott and Hoover won’t be easy. Both Austria and Deane referenced not only how important the two players, who became UD’s first players drafted into the WNBA in the summer, their scoring ability as well as their leadership.
“They held everybody on the team accountable, and they were good leaders not only on the court, but off the court, as well,” Austria said.
“They were always talking and motivating each of us,” Deane said. “They were definitely the hardest workers on the team, too.”
Those are qualities that they, along with Cornelie-Sigmundova, will look to try and apply as the senior leaders this year.
Graphic by Art Director Kelsey Mills.