Jayla Scaife wants to ‘go out with a bang’ in senior year at Dayton

Dayton women’s team off to 2-0 start in 2019

Jayla Scaife joined the 1,000-point club in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament last March in Pittsburgh. With no more home games last season, the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball program had to wait seven months to honor her for the achievement.

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That’s how Scaife ended up posing for a photo with coach Shauna Green and receiving a souvenir basketball celebrating the feat before the season opener last week. She didn’t know that moment was coming until she was told during pregame warm-ups and she has no idea where she stands two games into her season season, but she recognizes the significance of joining former teammates like Jenna Burdette, Lauren Cannatelli and Kelley Austria on the list of Dayton’s 1,000-point scorers.

Scaife, an A-10 first-team selection last season, joined an even more exclusive group of players who hit the milestone in their junior year.

“It’s awesome to be on that list of people who have been able to do that in three years,” Scaife said.

Now a senior, the 5-foot-10 guard out of Muncie Central High School, is focused on helping Dayton get back to the top of the A-10 and back to the NCAA tournament. Dayton played in the NCAA tournament eight times in the last decade, missing only in 2016, the season before Scaife arrived on campus, and last season.

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This season is about redemption, Scaife said.

“We’re trying to get our name back to the top,” Scaife said. “We’re not at the bottom, but we’re not where we want to be. We’re trying to get the team back to where we want to be.”

Dayton started that quest strong by opening the season with two dominant victories. The Flyers beat Lipscomb 82-60 on Nov. 5 and then won 60-42 at Toledo on Saturday.

The first big test of the non-conference schedule comes at 7 p.m. Wednesday when Dayton plays South Carolina (2-0) at UD Arena. The Gamecocks, ranked eighth at the start of the season, beat No. 4 Maryland 63-54 on Sunday.

Scaife has scored 16 points in the first two games, bringing her career total to 1,079. She ranks 24th in school history. If she matches last season’s total of 471 points, she’ll finish her career with 1,534 points and rank seventh in Dayton history.

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An offseason experience could help Scaife do even better in her final season. She was one of 35 players from across the country invited to Colorado Springs, Colo., to try out for the USA Basketball Junior National Team. Twelve players were selected to play in the 2019 Pan American Games. Although Scaife didn’t make that list, she improved as a player during the practices.

“It helped a lot being able to see all the different players who are at the top of their teams,” Scaife said. “There were a lot of different coaches, a lot of different coaching styles. It helped expose a lot of weaknesses I wasn’t aware of. It was a great experience.”

Scaife said she worked on ball-handling, creating her own shots and shot selection. Now she’ll work on displaying her improved skills in her final season. She said there’s a lot of pressure because it’s her last chance.

“I want to go out with a bang,” she said. “It’s good pressure. Pressure makes diamonds.”

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