By Patrick MacCoon
With the eighth overall pick in the WNBA Draft, the Washington Mystics selected a very special player. A player that head coach and general manager, Mike Thibault, considered to be one of the best shooters, at any position, throughout all 36 picks: Ally Malott.
In her senior season for the University of Dayton, a program she helped lead to its first appearance, ever, in the Elite Eight. Malott put together one of the best performances by any mid-major player.
The 6-foot-4 forward throughout 35 games, in her send-off season, scored 15.5 points per game, shot over fifty-percent, for the first time in her career from the field.
Malott knocked down 41.3 percent of her attempts from three-point range, and hauled in 7.8 rebounds per game. Still after the standout campaign there was still an uncertainty on draft day for the native of Middleton, Oh.
What started as a normal day at home, with going to workouts and class on Thursday afternoon, turned into a moment she will never forget, as Malott watched the first-round of the draft at home with her family.
"I didn't know what to expect going in," Malott said. "I had people telling me going in, that I would be drafted higher than I previously thought, but you can never be sure, until it happens.
"I was really shocked and excited. The Washington Mystics are an awesome (organization), and I'm excited to get started."
While, Malott was considered to be a mid-second to third round pick in the draft, the former McDonald All-American's stock rose considerably, with her strong play in leading her team to the regional finals.
In the NCAA Tournament the versatile ‘stretch four' for the Flyers, averaged nearly a double-double per contest with 17.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in four games, while shooting an extremely high 56.4 percent (25-of-44) from the field.
Even against Connecticut, her shooting from long range, highlighted a first half for the ages. Dayton connected on 7-of-10 from three and held a 44-43 advantage at halftime.
"I obviously wasn't thinking about the draft during the tournament, but it obviously helped a lot," she said. "I was just trying to be more aggressive for my team because we had a really tough pack and we had to fight through a lot of adversity. I think our whole team stepped up and I just wanted to do whatever to help the team win."
Arguably, the top recruit ever in the history of Dayton women's basketball, Malott, made the decision to commit to her hometown team in 2010. She spurned offers from top programs that included Notre Dame, Miami, Purdue, and Northwestern. UConn also expressed interest in landing one of Ohio's top talents ever in women's basketball.
"I would do it over and over again," she said. "I have no regrets. A lot of people questioned why I would go to Dayton because it wasn't a big name school or a powerhouse, but I kind of wanted to continue to build on what was already being established. I think it worked out pretty well for me and the team."
Not only did Malott become the third highest drafted player in the history of Dayton athletics, but teammate Andrea Hoover, was selected 31st overall by the Los Angeles Sparks.
The duo for Jim Jabir's squad combined for 3,352 points in their career and set a four-year program record for wins (102-25) -- and became the first University of Dayton women's basketball teammates to be selected in the same WNBA Draft.
"We kind of came here for the same reason," Malott said. "Andrea could've gone somewhere bigger too. We wanted to elevate the program.
"We've been roommates for four years and I was really happy to see her drafted. She deserves it more than anyone. It's going to be weird not playing on the same team with her."
Out of all Malott's memorable experiences at Dayton, she believes, was the support she received from the hometown fans.
For the past two seasons UD Arena, home to the Flyers, has ranked in the Top-50 in women's basketball for in attendance despite the university having an enrollment under 8,000 students.
"The Dayton fans are unbelievable," she said. "Our community support is so great. There are a lot of local people on the team, so that helps, but we also have a lot of people that have been fans their whole lives.
"I think UD Arena is one of the best basketball atmospheres in the entire country and it's because of them and their support."
After enjoying her time playing in front of familiar faces, Malott is thrilled and ready for the transition.
"I've never been to a Mystics game before, but I'm really excited to be a part of the team," she said. "I will do my best to work hard every game and have a positive attitude. I'm excited to get started."