Sometimes there’s something to be said for the wonders of youthful naïveté.
With a squad counting on six freshmen, the University of Dayton women’s basketball team traveled to Chicago and handed No. 25 DePaul its fifth home loss in four years on Nov. 10.
After passing a tough test at home Wednesday against Toledo, the 3-0 Flyers host No. 13 Vanderbilt at 2 p.m. today in UD Arena.
“They don’t realize what they are doing or who they are doing it against,” coach Jim Jabir said. “They are too goofy to know. They say ignorance is bliss, and they just go out there and play.”
The Flyers erased a nine-point Toledo lead in the final six minutes Wednesday to improve to 3-0 for the first time since the 1992-93 season. Led by freshman Amber Deane, who averages 16 points per game, and sophomores Ally Mallott (15) and Andrea Hoover (13.7), the Flyers have played better than expected.
“If we get caught up in (our record) then we are going to lose track of where we are going,” Jabir said. “What we want here is the expectation to win every game. It’s what we are trying to encourage and grow. We have a lot of room for confidence, but none for arrogance.”
Vanderbilt (3-0) features strong shooting and a pressing defense with Christine Foggie (16.7 ppg.), Tiffany Clarke (15.3) and Jamie Lister (12.3) leading the way.
The Flyers, however, are the Commodores’ first test on the road.
“Dayton is a very good, very smart team,” Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said following a win over UAB this week. “They have five people on the floor who can score at any time and they are very well-coached. They will be the best team we have played so far.”
Jabir knows one of the keys will be cutting down on turnovers. The Flyers turned the ball over 22 times against an aggressive Toledo defense and have turned it over 65 times in three games. They also have 30 steals, freshmen Kelley Austria and Deane each with seven.
“We are going to have to defend better, especially in the post, and take care of the ball,” Jabir said. “We are happy to be 3-0, but it is way to early to celebrate anything.”