The University of Dayton women’s basketball team will walk down the ramp at UD Arena on Wednesday night for the first time in over a month.
The 18th-ranked Flyers (13-1) host La Salle (5-11) in their Atlantic 10 home opener. UD’s last home game was Dec. 8 against Michigan State.
“It will be nice to be home,” UD coach Jim Jabir said. “We have been road warriors, but the kids handled their business really well. It could have been a disaster, but they handled it well.”
The Flyers’ only loss of the season — a 65-40 loss to Bowling Green came during the four-game road stretch.
“No disrespect to Bowling Green, but I think we are a better team,” Jabir said. “When we lose a game we should have won, that is a problem for me. I think we came in a little fat and happy. I think they thought they just had to show up because they were the University of Dayton. I am in their faces every day telling them it could happen and they didn’t believe me.”
The two weeks between the loss to the Falcons and the 82-39 A-10-opening win over Butler Saturday were not pleasant ones.
“We ran a lot over those two weeks,” Jabir said. “They got to where they were looking forward to playing because it was easier than practicing against ourselves. It was like boot camp.”
When the Flyers did hit the floor at Hinkle Fieldhouse against the Bulldogs, the squad looked like the group that began the season 12-0, including wins over DePaul, Vanderbilt, Arizona State and Michigan State.
“You saw the intensity and hunger was back,” Jabir said.
La Salle’s Brittany Wilson leads the A-10 in scoring at 18.8 points per game. Shanel Harrison, a transfer from Virginia Tech averages 10.1 per game. The Explorers play pressure defense. They’ve forced 290 turnovers and recorded 140 steals.
“They try to make it an ugly game and they are good at it,” Jabir said. “They have been in every game they have played. Arizona State gets after you and I think Toledo is the best defensive team we’ve played all year so I think we’ve been tested.”
Wednesday begins a stretch where the Flyers will play three home games in the next four.
“We were on a roll at home, had 4,000 people at the last game and then we were gone all that time,” Jabir said. “We are back on a more regular schedule now, so that should be beneficial as well.”
La Salle at Dayton, 7 p.m.