The schedule-makers didn’t do coach Shauna Green and the Dayton Flyers any favors by giving them four games against teams in the top half of the Atlantic 10 Conference standings in the last two weeks of the regular season.
On the other hand, first-place Dayton (20-4, 13-0) also gets a week break from games this week in preparation for the last three of those games. That couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Just because of our numbers situation and us needing a break to heal up some nagging injuries, we’re looking at it as a positive,” Green said Tuesday. “Just get a couple days, just get some rest, go a little bit lighter, rest up and heal up.”
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Green hopes to sharpen the team’s skills and tweak the playbook with the extra time in practice this week. The Flyers didn’t practice Monday and also won’t practice Thursday. They need the extra time to prepare for three games in seven days next week.
They take a 14-game winning streak into Senior Day, a 2 p.m. Sunday home game against Fordham (19-6, 10-2), which shares second place with Duquesne (20-5, 10-2). Dayton then plays George Mason (19-7, 8-4) at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at UD Arena. The Flyers close the regular season at 3 p.m. Feb. 24 at Saint Louis (14-11, 8-4), which shares fourth place with George Mason.
Dayton’s winning streak is now the fourth longest in school history. The Flyers won 18 games in a row in a streak that began in February 1980 and ended in November of the following season. Dayton has twice won 16 in a row, most recently in the 2007-08 season, and it has two 15-game winning streaks, one coming in the 2012-13 season.
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Despite the history her team is chasing, Green doesn’t talk about the streak.
“We really just focus day to day,” she said. “You can’t take any game for granted. You can’t take any day for granted. I try to keep them very grounded. All we can control is today. Let’s try to be the best we can and be better today than we were yesterday. This group has just been a lot of fun. I love being around them. They’ve been so focused. They’ve collectively bought into what we’re doing, and they’re playing so well together.”
Dayton has an eight-player rotation, and four starters average more than 32 minutes per game. Two starters, Jenna Burdette and Jayla Scaife, played all 40 minutes Sunday in a 57-53 victory against sixth-place George Washington (12-12, 7-5).
“If it’s a tight game, they’re going to be out there,” Green said. “They want to be out there. That’s kind of how this year has been. They’re used to it by now. They’re conditioned to play that long.”
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