“In losing close games,” coach Shauna Green said, “we learned a lot last year. This year the players are motivated, focused, locked in. They are taking ownership of the team, holding each other accountable.”
She pointed out that, although this year’s team is senior heavy, “between injuries and transfers, many are playing their first year.”
Among the seniors is Jayla Scaife (pictured) who led the Flyers last year with 15.7 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Since last year’s team struggled at the end of games and on the road, Green is having at each workout a simulated fourth quarter. “And every Friday,” she said, “for strength and conditioning we are having a ‘road-game Friday.’ We take a van someplace — the players ahead of time don’t know where — to simulate a road-game environment.”
The year before last, the team — which was experienced — was 15-1 in the A-10. Green stresses that location should not matter. “The courts are all the same size,” she said, “the lines in the same places. We need to do in games what we do in practice.”
The women’s team, like the men’s, had all its players on campus during the second summer session. Working within NCAA limitations, as a team they were with coaches three hours a week, as individuals, one hour with their position coaches and four hours working on strength. Without coaches, they could do what they wished.
The pre-conference schedule “will help us in the A-10,” Green said.
At least three teams from last year’s top 20 are on that schedule. On Nov. 29, the Flyers meet Gonzaga in Florida. Coming to UD Arena are perennial powerhouses South Carolina (Nov. 13) and UConn (Nov. 26).