Dayton plays Big East team in Williams-Jeter’s coaching debut

Flyers open the season Monday at Providence

Seven months after taking over as Dayton Flyers women’s basketball coach Tamika Williams-Jeter will coach her first game Monday, though she has to wait until Thursday to make her UD Arena debut.

“We just finished our last scrimmage up (Tuesday),” Williams-Jeter said Wednesday on campus, “and Monday’s go day. We leave Sunday to head up to Providence to play a really good team returning a lot of your starters. We’re excited to get the first game underway. People are healthy. The full team’s a go.”

With nine scholarship players on the roster available this season, that health is important for Dayton.

“Dez (Destiny Bohanon) was out the first two weeks (of the preseason),” Williams-Jeter said. “We just got her back right before we played our first scrimmage. Then Syd (Sydney Freeman) was out. Maliya (Perry) was out teh first week and a half. Nayo (Lear) is probably going to be back tomorrow. She’s been out for almost three weeks.”

Dayton plays Providence at 7 p.m. Monday. The game will air on FloHoops.com. The Friars finished 11-19 last season and were picked to finish eighth out of 11 teams in the Big East Conference.

This is the third meeting between Dayton and Providence. The Flyers won both earlier games: 83-65 at Providence on Dec. 18, 2013; and 72-56 at UD Arena on Nov. 26, 2014.

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The Flyers return to action at 7 p.m. Thursday against Illinois State in their home opener. The Flyers won 78-67 at Illinois State last season in the fourth meeting between the programs and first since 1982.

The Redbirds finished 19-14 last season and were picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Williams-Jeter wouldn’t say who Dayton played in its preseason scrimmages.

“They were awesome experiences,” she said, “especially for what we’re going to see early. They were great matchups from a defensive standpoint. They run some 5-out and 4-out (offense) with lots of movement and I think those are tougher teams to play against. I will re-scrimmage those same teams just because of style of play.”

The game Monday will be Williams-Jeter’s first as a Division I head coach. The Chaminade Julienne graduate and former Connecticut star guided Wittenberg to the NCAA Division III tournament last season.

“It’s a blessing,” she said. “I’m very grateful for it. But I really want to maximize the potential of this team, and that’s what keeps me up at night. I want to make sure I squeeze everything out of this team. I think they have more than they think they have in a tank.”

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