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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Dayton seniors cross paths with UConn again

Andrea Hoover and Ally Malott were given an introduction just three games into their collegiate careers when their Dayton team headed to UConn's Gampel Pavilion to play three games in three days at the 2011 World Vision Classic.

Now they meet up with the Huskies with a Final Four berth on a line. What a small world we live in sometimes.

"UConn is a great team and if you play against them in the NCAA tournament you know you went pretty far," Hoover said. "What I remember from that game is that they have a way that they do things, they do everything so hard, they run their offense so fluidly, it is something that every offense wanted to be like. We are going to go out there, give it our best shot and that is all we can ask."
The chance to play close to home for a solid mid-major program was enough to lure Hoover and Malott to Dayton even if some bigger programs were showing some interest in them.
Early on in the process UConn was among the programs making inquiries about Malott, a versatile 6-foot-4 senior from Middletown, Ohio.
"It was the early stage of recruiting, they called and (sent) a couple of letters," Malott said. "It was an honor to be recruited by them but I knew I wasn't going that far away.
"I knew I wanted to stay close to home, Dayton is only 35 minutes away so my family can come and watch me play. I loved everything bout the campus, the team, the coaches and I fit in so well. They were already starting to build a reputation and program. Andrea and I wanted to come build on that and take it to the next level."
Hoover, a fiery 5-foot-9 guard from Bellbrook, Ohio, and Malott had a little bit of experience playing in AAU but it wasn't until they suited up for the Flyers that their on-court chemistry really began to blossom.
"We have been playing together for so long and we even played AAU together for a couple of games," Hoover said. "The flow of the offense, I always know where she is and she always knows where I am. We play so hard and we wanted it so bad for this program, now we are in the Elite Eight and it is kind of hard to believe right now."
Dayton coach Jim Jabir believes in scheduling games against the major conferences to challenge his team. This year is no different as the Flyers played Gonzaga and Iowa teams that advanced to the Sweet 16. Although Dayton lost those games as well as one to Washington State, being thrown into tough non-conference games helped when they had to try to close out favorite Kentucky and Louisville teams in the NCAA tournament.

"That is why we schedule our non-conference games so tough," Malott said. "We had a couple of struggling games earlier in the year and I think we learned a lot from that games, obviously we used it to our advantage."
Now, win or lose, Hoover and Malott know they will leave the Dayton program better than they found it.
"It is a really good way to end the year, end our careers here," Malott said. "I think we put a lot, like all of our teammates, into this program, we have gone through a lot together and it is a really good ending."

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