Williams-Jeter wants Flyers to keep riding momentum as home game with Purdue looms

Flyers are 4-3 after winning three games in a row

Coach Tamika Williams-Jeter hopes one shot serves as the turning point for the 2023-24 Dayton Flyers women’s basketball program.

Facing a 74-73 deficit on Nov. 20, Dayton’s Destiny Bohanon scored with four seconds remaining to lift the team to a 75-74 victory against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at UD Arena. Had she missed, the Flyers would have lost their third straight game. Instead, the momentum shifted, and the team has now won three games in a row for the first time in the last two seasons.

“Destiny created that all by herself,” Williams-Jeter said. “She’s a kid who always wants that on her shoulders, which is huge for us. You have to have kids who have ice in their veins, and she’s one of them.”

It was a game Dayton probably would have lost early last season when it lost two of its first four games in overtime on its way to an 0-10 start and a 7-21 season.

“Winning that game was huge for us,” Williams-Jeter said. “Those are games we stayed in last year, but that last 30 seconds or last minute, we fell apart. That was from inexperience. Now one of our most experienced kids comes up big, creates some energy and makes that shot and really projects us in a whole different space.”

The Flyers (4-3) followed that with two victories last weekend.

• On Friday, Dayton beat Stetson 75-54 in the Daytona Beach Classic at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. Ivy Wolf scored 25 points Friday. She made 8 of 11 3-pointers.

• In the second game in Daytona Beach on Saturday, Dayton beat Wichita State 74-63. Wolf scored 18 points and made 3 of 5 3-pointers. Arianna Smith had 13 points and 19 rebounds.

“I just think we played well as a unit,” Williams-Jeter said. “Our assist-to-turnover ratio was phenomenal. Last year, we tried to play fast and stay out of foul trouble. It was a little helter skelter.”

The Flyers suffered back from back-to-back losses to Ohio and Detroit Mercy before winning the last three games. Williams-Jeter has seen an edge to the team in recent games and an emotion that has led it to a different level. She’s also still learning as a head coach. All of that has helped.

“We need to be that team that celebrates others’ success,” she said. “I think when the team got back to that, and I got a little bit edgy with them, it was really a recipe for success for us. So I just want to keep riding this momentum.”

The biggest takeaway from the last three games for Williams-Jeter was her team started to play with an identity. It performed with toughness and pace and had a high percentage of assisted points, all good signs for the team, she said.

Wolf, a transfer from Miami, improved her 3-point shooting percentage to 43.5 (20 of 46). She leads the team with 12.9 points and 3.0 assists per game.

“She takes shots confidently,” Williams-Jeter said. “I don’t think any of us want her to ever stop shooting.”

Dayton returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday against Purdue (3-3) at UD Arena.

Dayton beat Purdue 78-62 on Nov. 20, 2021, in West Lafayette, Ind., in the last meeting between the two programs. Purdue leads the series 8-5. Dayton has won three of the four matchups this century.

“I think it’s a very winnable game for us, which is cool, going against the Big Ten,” Williams-Jeter said. “Usually, I don’t have to get them excited about playing Power Five teams, so the energy will be there. It’s a red out. The first 500 students and 500 fans that come through the door will get a red shirt, so there will be a lot of red in the building. I think the fan support is going to be huge.”

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