Oct. 17, 2008
DAYTON, Ohio - The University of Dayton women's basketball team will take to the court as the sun sets this evening ready to start practice and anxious about a new season.
Practice will begin at 5 p.m. and last until 8 p.m. in the Flyers newly renovated Athletics Practice Facility on UD's campus.
2008 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year Jim Jabir is enthusiastic about the direction the program is taking, "We're excited to start a new era in our program, to take another step. We have a very talented and young group and we're eager to start new traditions. We have a new group and a lot of possibilities and we're excited about those possibilities."
Of the 14 players on the roster, six are returnees, including Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection Kristin Daugherty. Daugherty started all but three games as a freshman and ranked third in both scoring (9.3 ppg) and blocked shots (0.56 bpg.) and was second in rebounding (5.0 rpg). Her ability to play in the paint and hit shots from the outside will be key for the Flyers in a fast-paced offense that ranked third in the A-10 in scoring and included a school-record 186 made three-point shots last season.
Daugherty will be joined by junior Kendel Ross who has been one of Dayton's top options off the bench for the past two seasons. Ross led the Flyer reserves in rebounding (4.4 rpg.) and field goal percentage (.464) against A-10 opponents last season and is expected to move into a starting role in 2008-09 after battling for a spot on the Canadian National Team over the summer.
That duo will be asked to lead a group of newcomers that make up one of the Top 40 recruiting classes in the nation according to the BlueStar Report. The class includes McDonald's All-America nominees De'Sarae Chambers and Justine Raterman as well as All-State selections Patrice Lalor, Kayla Moses, Casey Nance and Brittany Wilson. Staci Willis and transfer Elle Queen also join the roster.
Jabir feels confident about the team's preparation leading up to the first practice. "I think the preseason has gone well. Everyone has worked really hard. The newcomers have bought into our program and have adopted our work ethic. We're strong. We're ready to get going."
Last season, the Dayton's women's basketball team experienced its most successful season since turning Division I with votes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, a modern-program record for wins in a season (25), a berth in the Atlantic 10 Championship semifinals and a trip to the postseason WNIT. UD made the third largest improvement in the nation from 2006-07 to last season for its first postseason appearance in eight years. Dayton won 16 consecutive games at one point, which was the longest winning streak in school history.
The 2008-2009 campaign will tip-off with an exhibition game versus the Ohio Legends on Nov. 6 (5:30 p.m. ET) at UD Arena. The Flyers will open up the regular season on the road at the World Vision Classic hosted by Texas. Dayton will face Texas in the second game of the tournament on Nov.15 at 7:30 p.m. ET.