Obi Toppin danced through the background as Dayton Flyers women’s basketball coach Shauna Green talked to reporters at UD’s Cronin Center on Thursday. Toppin bombs photos or videos as well as he dunks and does both often.
When you’re the star of the nation’s sixth-ranked team and getting hype as a potential top-five pick in the NBA Draft, you can get away with those kind of things. Green didn’t notice Toppin behind her, so he didn’t disrupt the interview.
For Green and Toppin and both their teams, it has been a year to remember so far. Neither team has lost in 2020. The Dayton men are 20-2 overall and 9-0 in the Atlantic 10 Conference and have won 11 straight games. The Dayton women started the season 5-7 and have since won 11 straight, matching the men's team with a 9-0 start in the conference.
Both teams sit alone in first place. Both teams are rooting for the other.
“I was just talking to some of the women’s players in the training room,” Toppin said. “They’re doing an amazing job, and hopefully they keep it up. We definitely support them just like they support us.”
This is the first time both programs have been on double-digit winning streaks at the same time, though they had overlapping streaks during the 1978-79 season. The men’s team won 10 straight games starting on Dec. 11, 1978, and the women team’s started a 15-game winning streak on Dec. 19.
Fans can see both teams in action at UD Arena this week. The men play Saint Louis at 2 p.m. Saturday. The women play Rhode Island at 2 p.m. Sunday.
“There’s a lot of excitement around here,” Green said. “The city is a basketball city. People love the Dayton Flyers around here. I think it’s great for the community mostly, that they can come and watch good basketball at the men’s game and the women’s game. Hopefully, we can bring a couple championships to Dayton.”
Asked if she and Dayton men’s coach Anthony Grant compare notes in the hallway, Green said they are both so in a bubble at this time of year, they don’t have much time for that.
“I’m sure they’re cheering for us,” Green said. “Our players are friends, and they cheer for each other. But right now as coaches, we’re so locked in. What’s our game plan for today? We’re preparing for Rhode Island. Anthony is locked in on Saint Louis. He probably could care less what I’m doing right now, and he shouldn’t. He needs to win on Saturday, and we need to win on Sunday.”
The spotlight the men’s team has received on the national stage helps the women’s program, Green said.
“We need our men to be successful,” she said. “There’s no bigger fan than me and our staff and our players. What they’re doing is phenomenal. Hopefully, it brings more light to Dayton in general and to the community and the university. It’s just great for everyone involved.”