The Dayton Flyers will honor three seniors who have scored 2,383 points — Jenna Burdette, JaVonna Layfield and Alex Harris — on Sunday in the second-to-last home game of the season against Fordham.
The stretch run of the final season for the three has come fast, Layfield said Thursday. She expects the 2 p.m. game to be emotional and intense.
“We’ll be driven because we know it’s one of the last times we’ll be able to play in front of the amazing fans at UD Arena,” Layfield said.
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The ceremony heightens the importance of the game, but this would be a big game regardless. The Flyers (20-4, 13-0) have won 14 games in a row and lead Fordham and Duquesne (both 11-2) by two games with three to play.
Dayton can clinch a share of the regular-season championship by beating Fordham and also the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Even if it then were to lose its remaining games against George Mason and Saint Louis and finish tied with Duquesne, it owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Duquesne.
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The three seniors have played a big part in Dayton’s success. Here’s a quick glance at each player and coach Shauna Green’s comments on them.
Burdette: The 5-foot-8 guard from Coolville and Reedsville Eastern High School has increased her scoring average every season (5.9 to 11.5 to 12.0 to 16.0). She ranks 17th in school history with 1,242 points and could move into the top 10 before the end of the season.
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“I knew when recruited her and in her freshman year she was a special player,” Green said. “But I think you can see her progressing. Even this year has been a huge step for her in terms of how she can take over a game. She wasn’t even doing that consistently last year. I think she knows this is her team. This is her final shot. I just can’t say enough about her ability to make plays. Whether it’s her scoring or getting other people shots or making a defensive stop, she does it all for us. She’s our leader. She’s our heart and soul, and she’s playing a high level right now.”
Layfield: The 5-11 guard from Ballard High School in Louisville, Ky., has also increased her scoring average every season (2.1 to 4.8 to 8.3 to 11.7). She has 747 points in her career.
Layfield has had an even bigger impact on the boards. She’s averaging 12.9 rebounds this season, ranking fourth in the country, and still has a chance to break Dayton’s single-season rebounding mark (13.0 by Ann Meyers in 1976-77). Layfield ranks 10th in school history with 753 rebounds.
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“The numbers she’s putting up, it’s just been crazy,” Green said. “She just plays so hard and brings so much energy. Her growth as a player has been unbelievable since her freshman year and even the last two years. There’s no way we would be where we’re at if she wasn’t playing like she’s been playing this year. She defends usually one of the best players, and she’s been scoring at a high level.”
Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Harris: The 6-3 forward from Lorain played her first two seasons at Penn State. She has 394 points in two seasons with the Flyers. She's averaging 8.5 points and 7.5 rebounds this season.
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“She’s been huge,” Green said. “She really has progressed this past couple of months. She’s been very consistent and has really been a scoring threat down low and a defensive presence. She was huge for us last year in our run, and she’s been even bigger this year because she’s playing more minutes and she’s our main five player. She has taken her leadership to a whole new level, and I’m really proud of her for that. She’s stepped up. She knows this is her last go at it.”
Fordham at Dayton, 2 p.m., Spectrum Sports, FM 95.7, AM 1290 WHIO
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