By: Edward Perez – Staff Writer
Led by co-captain seniors and the team’s two leading scorers from a year ago, Ally Malott and Andrea Hoover, the No. 22 ranked women’s basketball team looks to have another successful season and advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history.
Malott and Hoover were both named to the Preseason All-Atlantic 10 First Team, with Hoover taking the distinguished honor of preseason Player of the Year.
Hoover returns as the reigning A-10 Player of the Year and the team’s leading scorer last season, with 17.3 points per game. She passed the 1,000 point mark Feb. 5 against Virginia Commonwealth University and with 159 career three-pointers, ranks fourth in UD history.
Malott, who led the team in rebounds with 8.1 rebounds per game, compliments Hoover’s perimeter game, while also providing another outside shooting threat for head coach Jim Jabir and the Flyers.
She was second on the team with three-pointers made with 33 a year ago.
After winning a second consecutive A-10 regular season title and a third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament this past season, both Hoover and Malott sparked very high hopes for another successful season with the Flyers.
“Every year we set goals for the team and one of them is to win the A-10 regular season and winning the A-10 tournament,” Hoover said. “It’s exciting and sets a standard for us to work for this year.”
Malott said it is simply a privilege to play for the Flyers.
Hoover said that there is still much for the team to work on for them to accomplish their goals for the season.
“There’s always room to improve individually and as a team,” Hoover said. “This year, my main focus is to get more comfortable with the ball, shooting and being quicker as a defender.”
Hoover believes for a team to be successful, everyone has to contribute to the improvement and progression of the squad throughout the season.
“If you’re not good at it individually, then you’re simply being a hole in the team,” Hoover said in emphasizing the importance of teamwork.
Aside from teamwork, Malott said leadership is a key component of the team.
“I need to take ownership of a leadership role and assert myself on offense and defense,” Malott said.
Head coach Jim Jabir, who was named the A-10’s Preseason Coach of the Year, says he is excited for his two stars to get the season going.
“They’re both so skilled and they’re both so competitive,” head coach Jabir said. “They’re students of the game, they know it really well and it’s just really pretty to watch them play. They’re really complete players.”
Both players can run the floor, shoot and pass, according to Jabir. The two first-teamers will present all kinds of matchup problems for opposing defenses.
Under the guidance of Jabir, Hoover and Malott believe the team can accomplish and exceed their goals this season.
“We often take for granted how great of a person coach Jabir is,” Hoover said. “Not only on the court but off the court; he really cares about us becoming better people and players. He’s very experienced and knowledgeable about the game.”
For now, Malott and Hoover only wish to focus on their senior year and making the best out the season before they graduate. The women’s basketball team is scheduled to play at Washington State University Friday.