Devils Women's Basketball Heads to NCAA
Kyra Dayon (left) and her twin sister Kara (right) leading the Devils women's basketball team to a record-breaking season.
Story by Jenny Connell; photos by Joseph Castillo
“We are really, really
fortunate to get the Dayon sisters, and their Trenton High teammates,”
said Mitchell. “Their coach from Trenton High, Coach Reggie Murray, was
very much a disciplinarian and laid the groundwork for me.”
the spring of 2011 five basketball players in their senior year at
Trenton High School made a pact to all go to college together and
continue playing. They ended up at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s
College at Florham.
“It’s the first time we have had five kids,
or anyone has had five kids, from one high school to come to a college
and play together on a team that I’m aware of,” says head coach Marc
Mitchell. “I’m a different kind of coach. I take chances, and sometimes
they work and other times they don’t. But, I definitely want to be at
the forefront of many things.”
Mitchell’s gamble in recruiting
the five women from Trenton High paid off. His team has the best season
record ever — 22-2 in the regular season — in team history. Most of those
wins came from an 18-game winning streak, which is also a first.
our program we are striving to do something that just hasn’t been
done,” says Mitchell. “We have already cracked the top 25 in the
country, which has never been done at FDU. We are one of the best teams
in the country and we know it.”
Sophomore Kyra Dayon, also made
FDU history last season by recording the first ever triple-double with
17 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 steals in one game. Dayon is notably the
best player on the team and gives much of the credit of her success to
her twin sister, Kara Dayon, and fellow teammates.
“Kara and I
started playing with the Trenton girls in 5th grade. We all went to
different middle schools, but we used to play against each other and
then we came back together in high school and we just clicked,” said
Kyra. Kyra and Kara are joined with Robin Peoples, Kamryn Thompson and
Quaneshia Harris from Trenton High.
is the first season that all of the players on the roster are students
Mitchell recruited. “We are at the point now in our recruiting where we
can’t just recruit any kind of kid,” said Mitchell. “We have really good
chemistry here, and really good players so we need to bring in that
kind of caliber player.”
A win over Eastern University on
February 12 made FDU the top seed and gave them home-court advantage
throughout the Freedom Conference Tournament. The Devils played their
last regular season game on February 16, losing a heartbreaker to
Delaware Valley College, 69-67.
With nearly a thousand people in attendance, the Devils beat King's
College on Saturday, Feb. 23, with a 76-64 victory in the Championship
Game of the Freedom Conference. This win secures the women's basketball
team an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the first time in
school history. The Devils will play against the Widener University
Pride tonight, Friday, March 1, in the first round of the NCAA tourney.
It's a cause for celebration: the Devils win the Freedom Conference and head to the NCAA! (Images courtesy of College at Florham Athletics and Joseph Castillo)