Women’s basketball: Dayton Flyers to open season Wednesday in Kentucky

Dayton women's basketball coach Shauna Green speaks to the crowd at UD Arena during a Dayton men's basketball game on Feb. 8, 2020. David Jablonski/Staff
Dayton women's basketball coach Shauna Green speaks to the crowd at UD Arena during a Dayton men's basketball game on Feb. 8, 2020. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

UD will play seven non-conference games

The start of the 2020-21 season for the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team means the end of the 2019-20 season is still a topic of discussion.

For Shauna Green, whose team would have played in the NCAA tournament for the third time in her four season, the disappointment will linger. Her team won the Atlantic 10 tournament championship March 8 at UD Arena and was waiting for Selection Monday, which would have taken place March 16, when the sports world shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“That was a tough week,” Green said earlier this month during an interview with the Atlantic 10 Conference. “You go from the highest of highs, winning the championship, which was our goal from the beginning, and practicing for the NCAA tournament and then all of a sudden, everything shuts down on March 12. We met as a team. We had a big group of seniors. It was a lot of tears. We really didn’t say much. Every senior stepped up and spoke about their experiences and kind of gave a couple words to the returners to go out next year and try to carry on.”

Those returners get their first chance at noon Wednesday when Dayton opens the season at Morehead State. The Flyers then play at Illinois State at 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 before playing their home opener at UD Arena at 2 p.m. Dec. 6.

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The non-conference schedule includes two more road games and three more home games: at Illinois State (7 p.m., Dec. 2); at Charlotte (Dec. 10); vs. Alabama A&M (2 p.m., Dec. 13); vs. Florida (noon, Dec. 20); and vs. Florida A&M (noon, Dec. 23).

The Flyers will then play an 18-game A-10 schedule. Dayton was picked to finish second behind Virginia Commonwealth in the preseason poll.

“I think every team now from top to bottom is vastly improved,” Green said. “Every coach in this league is really good. The new coaches in the league have elevated it. It’s just continuing to get deeper and deeper. It really is going to come down to a lot of leadership and some veteran teams because there’s so much uncertainty. We’ve gone through a couple of quarantines. It’s hard.”

The Flyers finished 25-8 overall last season and 15-1 in the A-10, losing only to Fordham. Dayton has won the regular-season championship three times in Green’s tenure and the A-10 tournament twice.

Among the key returners for Dayton are:

• Redshirt senior guard/forward Erin Whalen, who averaged 12.2 points last season and was named to the all-conference preseason first team.

• Redshirt senior guard Araion Bradshaw (5.7 points per game), who was named to the preseason third team and the all-defensive team.

• Junior forward Kyla Whitehead (7.2), who was also named to the preseason third team.

• Redshirt senior guard Jenna Giacone, who was the team’s fifth-leading scorer (6.4).

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Dayton’s roster also includes junior forward Amari Davidson, redshirt sophomore Maliya Perry, a transfer from Auburn who sat out last season, and sophomore forward Mariah Perez. Two redshirt freshmen who missed last season with knee injuries are back: guard Destiny Bohanon, a Wayne High School graduate; and forward Nadjy Tyler.

The freshman class includes guards Capria Brown, Makira Cook, Anna LeMaster and Bailee Adkins and 6-foot-5 center Tenin Magassa, who’s from France.

All the players will have to adapt to play games in front of small crowds. UD won’t be able to have more than 300 people at games through at least December.

“That’s a big difference for us when we normally get 3,000 fans,” Green said. “But at the end of the day, basketball is basketball. Fans aren’t making shots for you. Fans aren’t getting stops for you. It’s really hard to win basketball games. I don’t care if it’s on the road or at home. It’s hard. Everyone wants to play in front of fans, but you’ve still got to go play. We’ll get used to it fast.”

2020-21 ROSTER

Araion Bradshaw, 5-6, Sr., G

Nadjy Tyler, 6-3, Fr., F

Makira Cook, 5-6, Fr., G

Capria Brown, 5-9, Fr. G

Kyla Whitehead, 6-2, Jr., F

Anna LeMasters, 5-9, Fr., G

Amari Davidson, 6-2, Jr., F

Jenna Giacone, 6-1, Sr., G

Bailee Adkins, 5-7, Fr., G

Erin Whalen, 6-1, Sr., F

Mariah Perez, 6-3, So., F

Maliyah Perry, 6-1, So., F

Destiny Bohanon, 5-10, Fr., G

Tenin Magassa, 6-5, Fr., C

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