Dayton women will get big test with preseason scrimmage against top-25 team

Caption
Jenna Giacone and Kyla Whitehead interview (Oct. 28, 2021)

Flyers, who were picked to win Atlantic 10, will play Michigan on Saturday

The Dayton Flyers have been picked to finish first three times and second three times in coach Shauna Green’s six seasons. She has learned to not pay much attention to the Atlantic 10 Conference preseason poll.

“Whether we’re picked No. 1 or No. 14, our goals and our expectations and our standards are the same year in and year out,” Green said Thursday during the A-10′s virtual media day, which aired on ESPN+, “and that’s to compete for championships and to get to the NCAA Tournament. I didn’t tell the team (about the poll). We didn’t talk about it yesterday. We won’t talk about it. It does not matter to us. We know what we want to accomplish. We know that we did not play well at the end of last season, and we know exactly what we needed to work on this summer, this preseason and now going into this year. What matters is who’s number one at the end of this season, and that’s where we want to be and that’s what we’re going to strive for each and every day.”

Dayton, the defending regular-season champion, received 11 of 14 first-place votes and was named the preseason favorite Wednesday.

The Flyers open the season at 11 a.m. Nov. 9, against Alabama A&M at UD Arena but first will play an exhibition game at home against Indiana University of Pennsylvania at 7 p.m. Nov. 5.

Explore» MEN'S BASKETBALL: Flyers motivated by preseason poll

There will also a “secret scrimmage” on Saturday against Michigan, according to a source. Green mentioned that scrimmage in her interview Thursday but did not name the opponent because the NCAA does not allow schools to publicize the scrimmage. Michigan ranks 11th in the Associated Press preseason poll.

“I think that’s going to really give us a good opportunity to see where we’re at early and and to make adjustments a week later in that exhibition game,” Green said. “We don’t have a lot of time. We play Duke Nov. 12. It’s not like we have a lot of time to figure ourselves out early. Scheduling a really tough scrimmage and then scheduling a really good exhibition game hopefully that’ll prepare us and give us an idea of exactly where we are at and what we need to continue to work on.”

Dayton has three sixth-year seniors and two fourth-year seniors on the roster. Two players from that group, Jenna Giacone and Kyla Whitehead, represented the team on media day. They’re eager to see outside competition in the coming weeks.

“We’re just excited to not beat up on ourselves anymore,” Whitehead said, “but someone else for a change.”

Unlike the Dayton men’s team, which has seven newcomers among 13 scholarship players, the women’s team has only two newcomers: freshmen Shannon Wheeler and Brynn Shoup-Hill.

“I’m really excited for both of our freshmen,” Giacone said. “You honestly wouldn’t be able to tell that they’re freshmen. They’ve handled their business really well. They show up every day. They’re consistent. They work hard. In terms of style of play, they’re both very versatile and athletic, able to shoot, able to drive, heavy on the boards. I think they’re going to be great for us this year. I’m excited to watch their careers.”

The veterans on the team expect them to get a chance to contribute.

“Our strength is in our numbers,” Whitehead said, “so we’re expecting one to 14 to play every single game. I think they can bring a lot to this team.”

About the Author

ajc.com