The Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team entered the preseason ahead of schedule compared to most seasons. The summer trip to Italy provided the team with a head start that continues to pay dividends as the 2018-19 season approaches.
“There hasn’t been so much of a huge learning curve to install a lot things or have to stop and teach a ton,” said assistant coach Ryan Gensler, who stood in for an interview last week at the Cronin Center with head coach Shauna Green on the road recruiting. “Practices have moved quickly and efficiently, I think, which has been really helpful to move along.”
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Dayton fans can see the team — as well as the inside of the renovated UD Arena — for the first time at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 in an exhibition game against Indianapolis. The season opener follows eight days later. The Flyers play Colgate at 11 a.m Nov. 9 at UD Arena.
As always when a new season begins, many eyes will turn to the newcomers. Dayton has six players who have never worn the red and blue. Of those, three are true freshmen still waiting to practice at the arena for the first time. The Flyers are expected to get their first chance to do that next week sometime in the days before the exhibition game.
Gensler provided a glimpse of what to expect from the freshmen, all of whom are Ohio recruits: 6-foot-2 forward Kyla Whitehead, of Pickerington Central; 5-11 forward Ella Skeens, of Chillicothe Southeastern; and 6-2 forward Amari Davidson, of Avon.
Gensler on Whitehead: “Kyla came in with a really good basketball IQ. She comes from a good program. Winning the state championship and playing in big moments, she’s used to those kind of things. Physically, she came in really good shape. She displayed her versatility, her ability to go off the bounce or shoot the ball and really just defend. If you know Dayton women’s basketball, it all starts with the defense. Her being able to defend multiple positions will put her in favorable positions. That’s kind of been the highlight for her so far.”
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Gensler on Skeens: “Ella comes in as a really good scorer. Playing in southeast Ohio, maybe the competition wasn’t amazing all the time, but she played a really high level of AAU. Her ability to catch and shoot has been resonating with the team. You’ve got to get a hot hand on her. Getting the speed of the game is a big step for any freshman, but her offensive ability is coming along pretty well.”
Gensler on Davidson: “Amari is really good at using her size and frame to her advantage. She has been able to take the things we are teaching and apply them. The speed of the game, especially in our practices with how fast we want to play, is so much faster than at the high school level, but she’s understanding the concepts well. She’s using her size and strength to her advantage. We just remind her that she is that strong and she can do those things on a daily basis. She’s exciting.”
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