Dayton women’s basketball coach Jim Jabir saw plenty of imperfections Friday in his team’s final tuneup for the regular season. The 14th-ranked Flyers routed Indianapolis 84-58, and while that score looks impressive, Jabir said, “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The Flyers played without two injured newcomers: freshman Celeste Edwards, who is battling an Achilles’ tendon issue, and Tiffany Johnson, who had a sore back.
Jabir hopes both will be ready when the Flyers begin the season this weekend with games at the Hawkeye Challenge against UC Riverside at 2 p.m. Saturday and host Iowa at noon Sunday.
“With the way officials are calling games now, depth matters,” Jabir said. “There were fouls all over the place (Friday), so that was one contributor. We have to do a better job defensively rotating and helping each other. Our defense isn’t where we want it to be.”
Jabir expects to start the same players Saturday as he did in the exhibition: guards Amber Deane, Ally Malott, Andrea Hoover and Kelley Austria and center Cassie Sant.
Jodie Cornelie-Sigmundova, Christy Macioce, Saicha Grant-Allen and Andrijana Cvitkovic also saw time in the exhibition game. In all, the Flyers played three juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen against Indianapolis.
“We’re very young and very inexperienced, more so than last year,” Jabir said. “Our kids have to learn their roles and understand how the college game is played.”
Playing two games in two days to start the season will give Jabir a quick peek at what he’s got.
“In a way, it’ll be good,” he said. “We can address things and fix them and go back out and play again.”
Like Dayton, Iowa is young. A team that has been to the NCAA tournament seven seasons in a row has just one senior. Riverside returns eight letterwinners from a team that finished 11-18 last season.
“I think Riverside is very athletic, and they’re going to play zone and mix things up,” Jabir said. “They’re going to switch man-to-man and do some of the things that Indianapolis did. That’ll be a good test for us.
“I think Iowa is similar to us in some ways. They run the Princeton offense. They’re good passers. They move the basketball. Defensively, they’re going to try to pressure us and attack us a little bit. We’ll have our work cut out for us both games.”
Flyers at a glance
Coach: Jim Jabir (11th season, 187-125)
Last year’s record: 28-3
Preseason polls: Ranked 14th in AP poll, 16th in USA Today Coaches poll; picked to win A-10.
Returning starters: Andrea Hoover, 5-9, Jr., G, 12.9 points per game; Ally Malott, 6-4, Jr., G, 10.7; Amber Deane, 5-9, So., G, 9.9; Cassie Sant, 6-3, Jr., C, 7.7.
Key games: Nov. 15, vs. Akron (home opener); Nov. 17, at No. 20 Michigan State; Dec. 5, at Central Michigan; Jan. 2, vs. Wright State; Jan. 26, at St. Joseph’s; Feb. 23, vs. St. Joseph’s.