End of NCAA suspense a ‘great feeling’ for Dayton women

Flyers will play Marquette in NCAA tournament Friday


Dayton practices in Louisville at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

The viewing party at UD Arena started with music from The Dayton Pep Band. Then Dr. Willie Morris, the longtime director of the pep band, pumped up the enthusiasm by dancing with members of the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team. Even coach Shauna Green joined him for a brief moment.

The fun ended when the NCAA tournament selection show began. That’s when everyone got nervous.

“I’m just a nervous person, not when it comes to playing but just in general,” Dayton senior guard Jenna Burdette said. “I was pretty confident we were getting in, but you never know.”

“I kept leaning my head on Jenna,” senior guard JaVonna Layfield said. “We kept trying to figure out where we were going to go.”

» RELATED: Dayton uses break to get ready for big dance

As soon as the Flyers saw the Dayton name on the ESPN broadcast, the party began again with cheering from the season-ticket holders in attendance and players jumping out of their seats. Layfield was one of a number of players recording the scene with their cell phones.

“Just to hear our name called was a huge relief and like a weight lifted off our shoulders,” Layfield said.

“It was more exciting this year than last year, just the suspense of it and not knowing,” Green said. “We felt good about it, but seeing your name pop up, it was a great feeling.”

Dayton (23-6) earned a No. 9 seed and will play No. 8 seed Marquette (23-9) in the first round at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. ESPN2 will televise the game.

The winner will play No. 1 seed Louisville (32-2), ranked third in the country in the Associated Press poll, or No. 16 seed Boise State (23-9) in the second round Sunday at a time to be announced.

» RELATED: 7 things to know about First FourFirst Four full of well-known programs

The Flyers will practice at the arena at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. It’s the second straight season Dayton has played in Louisville. It earned a No. 12 seed a year ago and lost 66-57 to No. 5 seed Tennessee.

For Layfield, it’s one more chance to go home. She’s a graduate of Ballard High School in Louisville.

“It couldn’t be any better,” Layfield said. “Senior year, and you get to play in the NCAA tournament in your hometown, I’m very excited.”

Dayton played Marquette regularly for decades, but it has been 15 years since their last meeting in 2003. Marquette leads the series 14-12.

» RELATED: Green named A-10 coach of the year

Marquette is making its 11th tournament appearance and second in a row. It has never advanced past the second round. Dayton will play in the tournament for the eighth time in nine years. It reached the Elite Eight as a No. 7 seed in 2015 when the current seniors were freshmen, beating No. 3 seed Louisville in Albany, N.Y., in the Sweet 16 before losing to No. 1 Connecticut.

Burdette played a prominent role on that team, starting 32 of 35 games, and hopes the memories of that run help this season.

“We don’t bring it up a whole lot actually,” Burdette said. “Coach Green brought it up the other day because that year we also lost in the A-10 championship game, so she was kind of comparing it and the lull we were in. Hopefully, it’s the same thing this year.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Report: Ohio State discussing ‘coach-in-waiting’ scenario with Ryan Day
Report: Ohio State discussing ‘coach-in-waiting’ scenario with Ryan Day

Ryan Day returned to his role as Ohio State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Saturday after leading the Buckeyes to a 3-0 start.  He was filling in for head coach Urban Meyer, who was suspended after a university investigation found he mismanaged the employment of receivers coach Zach Smith.  >>GAME STORY: Ohio State crushes...
Miami runs over Bowling Green in MAC opener
Miami runs over Bowling Green in MAC opener

Alonzo Smith ran for 164 of the RedHawks’ season-high 289 yards rushing and Miami defeated Bowling Green 38-23 in a Mid-American Conference opener on Saturday. Smith’s 34-yard run put the senior over 2,000 yards rushing for his career and set Miami (1-3, 1-0) up at the Falcons 2-yard line before Gus Ragland ran over from the 1 two plays...
Cincinnati Bengals: 5 storylines to watch in today’s game at Carolina
Cincinnati Bengals: 5 storylines to watch in today’s game at Carolina

The Cincinnati Bengals are looking for their first 3-0 start in three years when they face the Carolina Panthers on the road Sunday. The Bengals opened the 2015 season 8-0 and went on to make the playoffs for a fifth straight year but haven’t been back since. This season already feels much different than a year ago when they finished 7-9 for...
Ohio State notes: Haskins continues to showcase accuracy
Ohio State notes: Haskins continues to showcase accuracy

J.T. Barrett broke almost all the school passing records the last four seasons, not to mention a bunch of Big Ten marks. The way he’s playing in his first season as a starter, Dwayne Haskins won’t stick around the college game long enough to challenge any career marks. Haskins continued to compile stats worthy of the Heisman Trophy in his...
HS Roundup 9/22: Packnett paces Dunbar football in win over Woodward

Greg Packnett passed for 145 yards and three touchdowns in helping spur Dunbar football to a 22-20 win versus Woodward at Welcome Stadium on Saturday night. Packnett connected with James Murray and Bryce Smith on TD passes in the first half and hit Jaquan Lusbourgh with the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter. Aaron Richardson tacked on the...
More Stories