Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

#A10WBBTIPOFF: 2019-20 Dayton Flyers Season Preview

By Atlantic 10 Conference

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Welcome to the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Tipoff for the 2019-20 Season. This afternoon, for the final season preview, we feature the Dayton Flyers, host of the 2020 Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Championship.

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It’s the beginning of a whole new season for Dayton women’s basketball and coach Shauna Green can’t stop talking about finishing.

The Flyers struggled to hold onto leads a year ago and dropped close games, particularly on the road where they finished 2-11. Don’t expect a repeat performance, said Green, the Atlantic 10’s 2018 Coach of the Year.

“Last year was a great year of growth,” she said. “We learned a lot about ourselves and we addressed a lot of issues during the offseason. We dropped a lot of games. I’ve never, ever been involved in something like that in my coaching or playing career.”

Green’s message to the Flyers: Whether home or away, they need to play the same.

The summer included “road-game Fridays,” or a different challenge weekly for the Flyers. She divulged nothing beforehand about the details. “Sometimes it was to the gym to box or to the cemetery to run hills,” she said.

It’s a strategy borrowed from her brother-in-law, a men’s coach at LSU. “I took it from them,” she said. “I wanted to add something a little bit different.”

Dayton returns a veteran core led by Jayla Scaife, who spent part of her offseason training with USA Basketball.  “Every year she’s continued to improve her game and added new elements to it,” Green said. “Her leadership this offseason has been the biggest thing.”

Scaife isn’t the most vocal of leaders, so she’s overcome that with being intentional, Green said, in her actions.

Vanderbilt transfer Erin Whalen, 6-foot-1, brings versatility and will look to fill the hole left by the graduation of All-Conference Second Team star Lauren Cannatelli.

“(Whalen) can score inside, we can post her up or she’s just a knock-down shooter with deep range. She’s going to help us a lot. We can play her in a variety of positions from the two to the four.”

The Flyers have advanced to postseason 11 straight years, and even in a relative down year by Dayton standards, the team's offense still ranked second in the league. But barely squeezing into the WNIT isn't what these guys are about. If you have any doubts about their NCAA aspirations, check out their nonconference slate, which includes welcoming UConn and South Carolina to renovated UD Arena along with road games at Toledo and Central Michigan.

 

A look at the Flyers:

Coach: Shauna Green, 4th season at Dayton, 62-31 and 8th season overall, 91-56 

Last year: 17-14, 10-6 in the Atlantic 10 (lost at Northwestern 74-51 in the first round of the WNIT)

They’ll miss: Lauren Cannatelli rewrote the records books, sweeping single game, season, and career marks for made 3-pointers and 3-pointers attempted. She was one of 12 A-10 candidates nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year honor. She was named All-Conference Second Team and All-Academic while junior Jayla Scaife earned First Team honors.

She also recorded the second-best free-throw performance in NCAA history, going a perfect 22-for-22 in a game. The Cincinnati native became the 26th Flyer in program history to reach the 1,000 point mark, finishing with 1,340 in her career and ranking 13th all-time.

Cannatelli earned Second Team All-Atlantic 10 and All-Academic honors as a senior and received the Flyer of the Year award at the annual team banquet.

Impact returners: Scaife, a 5-10 guard and A-10 first-teamer, took part in a training camp with USA Basketball over the summer. Named MVP at the team’s annual award banquet, the 5-10 senior guard averaged 15.7 ppg, third-best in the A-10, and 7.0 rpg while shooting 37 percent from three. Shakeela Fowler averaged 8.5 ppg. Redshirt junior guard Araion Bradshaw started all 31 games last season, averaging 5.4 ppg and leading Dayton in steals and assists.

Newbies of note: Erin Whalen, a redshirt junior, averaged 7.4 ppg at Vanderbilt her sophomore season. The five-star prospect by ESPN Hoopgurlz has two years of eligibility remaining.

Destiny Bohanon, a 5-10 point guard, grew up 20 minutes away from Dayton. “She understands how to distribute and score,” Green said.

Reasons to be optimistic: Scaife is a potential WNBA-caliber player and will surely benefit from having practiced with Wheeler all of last year. With seven players who are either fifth- or fourth-year seniors and two redshirt juniors, the Flyers understand how to weather a nonconference that should have them game-ready every night in the A-10.

Circle the date: Nov. 13,  South Carolina at Dayton,  and 11-time NCAA champion UConn at Dayton Nov. 26

Bottom line: Dayton is capable of putting itself in position for a ninth NCAA Tournament appearance. Even if the Flyers don’t win the conference championship, they’re playing the type of nonconference schedule that could make them in play for an at-large selection.

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