Women’s basketball: Bradshaw joins two other Dayton seniors in deciding to return for sixth year

Dayton coach Shauna Green poses for a photo with seniors Erin Whalen, Araion Bradshaw and Jenna Giacone after a game against Saint Louis on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Dayton coach Shauna Green poses for a photo with seniors Erin Whalen, Araion Bradshaw and Jenna Giacone after a game against Saint Louis on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Flyers will return every major contributor from 14-5 team

Erin Whalen and Jenna Giacone, both of whom publicly announced their decisions earlier this month, aren’t the only seniors returning to the Dayton Flyers for a sixth season in college basketball. Araion Bradshaw has also informed coach Shauna Green she’ll play one more year at UD.

That means Dayton will return its entire starting lineup from a team that finished 14-5 and won the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season championship with a 12-1 record.

The individual decisions didn’t surprise Green, but she was surprised all three decided to return.

“Right when the NCAA announced that you would have this year back, we talked about it,” Green said Wednesday. “I just told them as we go through the year, we’ll talk and at the end of the season, we’ll sit down. I don’t expect you to make a decision until after the season. Really I never put any pressure on them about anything. I wanted them to be all in 110 percent if they were going to do it. After the season ended, they took some time to think about it, and then they made their decisions.”

All three had redshirt seasons earlier in their career. Whalen sat out the 2018-19 season after transferring from Vanderbilt, where she played two seasons. Bradshaw played her first season at South Carolina and sat out the 2017-18 season after transferring to Dayton. Giacone missed the 2017-18 season with an injury.

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All three started all 19 games last season.

• Whalen, a 6-1 guard/forward, led the team with 13.6 points per game. She averaged 4.8 rebounds per game and was the team’s top 3-point shooter, making 46 of 112 (41.1 percent).

• Giacone, a 6-foot-1 guard, ranked second on the team with 12.4 points per game. She averaged 3.8 rebounds.

• Bradshaw, a 5-6 guard, averaged a team-best 4.9 assists per game and ranked fifth on the team with 7.2 points per game.

Their experience should benefit the team in the 2021-22 season.

“AB is going to be 25 by the time she’s done,” Green said. “Compared to 18-year-olds, that’s a big difference. Jenna, this will really be her senior year if you look at her injuries. I’m really happy she’s using (the extra year). You finally saw a glimpse of her healthy this year until the end of the year when she was banged up.”

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The decision by the three means Dayton will have 15 scholarship players on the roster next season. There would have been more, but guard Bailee Adkins, who missed her freshman season with a knee injury, entered the transfer portal on March 29, and redshirt freshman forward Nadjy Tyler, who received limited playing time in eight games last season, also will transfer.

Dayton played only two non-conference games last season and played in front of crowds that numbered close to 100 at UD Arena. The chance to play one more normal season as well as get another year of education were also reasons the three players decided to return. They also want one more chance to earn a NCAA tournament berth.

“That is a big goal of theirs,” Green said. “We’ve already started postseason workouts and started the new journey.”

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