Daija Moses adapts in unusual senior season
By Dylan Manfre
If there is anybody who can adjust to a new role in a short amount of time, it’s senior forward Daija Moses.
Coming to Rider four years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Moses had balanced her academics with her responsibility as a Division I athlete and adjusting to a new culture in America. Although it was difficult for her, she has made it this far with few hiccups.
She navigated her senior campaign on her own.
Playing behind a senior class of last season’s pedigree, Moses wished she could change one thing about her last season at Rider.
She wanted someone to share her senior year with.
Moses knew from the time she was a freshman this was going to be her reality when she became a senior. Former guard Jaiden Morris entered Rider with Moses, but Head Coach Lynn Milligan confirmed Morris transferred after the 2017-2018 season.
“I wish I was ordering my cap and gown with someone so we can go on stage together and that type of thing,” Moses said with a sigh.
Building relationships on and off the court was important to her because the desire to experience senior basketball remains.
“We [would just have] another voice to be honest,” Moses said. “Someone you could relate to in the sense that this is our last year, we gotta do what [we] do. Sometimes when I’m thinking ‘last game,’ it’s not anyone else’s last game.”
Despite being the lone senior, she adapted as she does to everything else.
“Being able to change, to be honest,” Moses said when asked what the word adapt means to her, “depending on your environment.”
When it came to basketball, there is not one player or lineup Moses could not play with. Her versatility is her top asset.
“Her role has changed every year. It really hasn’t been an overly consistent role, and that’s to her credit,” Milligan said. “It’s not easy. She’s never been pigeonholed to be this person. She’s been able to grow and be able to move in different parts and play with different people and different positions and be an offensive threat.”
Milligan thought last season backing up forwards Lea Favre and Aubre Johnson was the “perfect role” for the 5-foot-10-inch Moses.
“I think she really took advantage of that and understood the importance of that role,” Milligan said. “She was able to play with Lea [Favre], she was able to play with Aubre [Johnson]. This year she plays with [freshman center] Vic [Toomey], she can play with anybody. That’s the good thing about Daija, you can put her into the lineup and she’s going to find her way.”
Moses started the season at power forward, but later on was swapped for freshman forward Raphaela Toussaint and found herself n the backup role again. Her role changing so frequently never fazed her because she still gave the same effort.
“It definitely is, like, a mental thing because adapting to different roles is not always the easiest,” Moses said. “It’s like ‘OK you’re here, why did I go here? Why am I here now?’ So it definitely is a mental thing but I definitely am proud of myself because you just have to adjust and do what you need to do.”
For her last game at Alumni Gym, Moses was rewarded with a senior day surprise with a pregame video from her mother and other family members.
Senior day 2021 https://t.co/2eV6ASswjt— Dylan Manfre (@Dylan_Manfre11) February 14, 2021
Assistant Coach Pam Durkin orchestrated the surprise which left Moses emotional since her family could not make it because of COVID-19 travel restrictions between Canada and the United States. But for every player at Rider, Milligan wants them to have a “remember when” moment, something the players will remember forever.
Moses said her “remember when” was her hitting two late 3-pointers against Niagara on Feb. 14 giving Rider a win in her final game at Alumni Gym.
Rider wins 68-54. Could’ve gone a lot differently but hey, Rider escapes with a desperate win. pic.twitter.com/0mWVmRRJrK— Dylan Manfre (@Dylan_Manfre11) February 14, 2021
“First we beat Niagara and that was great, especially being down,” Moses said. “It’s just the energy and love and support within that time was just something that’s unforgettable.”
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