Ariana Dalia of Bates College helps her teammates get fired up prior to the start of Tuesday night’s game against University of Maine at Farmington at Alumni Gymnasium in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Follow the bouncing ball if you want to find Ariana Dalia on the court.

The Bates College senior small forward is always in constant motion and in the thick of the action. Her relentless performances behind the scenes are not often reflected in a box score.

“I love going to school in Maine and just being on a team that’s really welcoming,” the New Jersey native said. “I really love (Bates) coach (Alison) Montgomery. She was really genuine throughout my entire recruiting process and she is still the same way now that I am on the team.

“I really like playing for a team that has a really strong culture and a really great mentality on and off the court. (Montgomery) likes to joke around that I never look tired.”

She describes herself as a strong post player who enjoys the challenge of trying to win 50-50 balls and bringing her energy to the team.

“I think as a small forward I stretch the floor out well,” Dalia said. “I am strong so I can be in the post. I am not necessarily super tall, but I can also shoot the ball.”

Dalia sees a bright future for the Bobcats, whose team chemistry, depth and dedication will all play a role in their success.

University of Maine at Farmington’s Makayla Wilson, top right, grabs a rebound from Bates’ Brianna Gadaleta, top left, as UMF’s Page Brown, bottom right, and Bates’ Ariana Dalia, bottom left, look to get in on the play during the first quarter of Tuesday’s game in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“We have a really special group of women who are really determined and committed to this program, so I am really confident we are going to have a successful season and achieving our goals of winning the (conference) championship,” she said. “This year we have a strong upperclassmen presence with five seniors, including myself, and four juniors. I am going to bring as much energy as possible to keep my teammates up.

“I am going to focus on every game as if it is my last because this past year definitely taught me not to take anything for granted and just really enjoy the moment.”

Montgomery is grateful that Dalia is around for one more season and has come to count on her, especially on defense.

“She has a motor like I have never seen,” Montgomery said. “She goes, goes, goes and never gets tired. The quality of her play never changes. She is kind of a nightmare to play against, I think. She just rebounds constantly; she works constantly. She is a really good defender — and she’s a matchup problem.

“She is about 5-foot-9. She is super strong so she creates a tough matchup. She can shoot it. She can take it off the dribble, but she can also defend in the low post. She can compete against matchups that are bigger.”

Montgomery pointed out that Dalia is a role model who fires up the Bobcats with her heart and hustle.

Bates College’s Ariana Dalia gets her team fired up prior to the start of Tuesday night’s game against University of Maine at Farmington at Alumni Gymnasium in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“There’s the intangibles, too,” Montgomery explained. “She is a leader. She is one of the most competitive kids. No matter what the scout is on her, she is always going to affect the game in some way.”

According to Bates’ bio on Dalia, she started all 25 games as a sophomore for Bates during the 2019-2020 season, when she also averaged 30.3 minutes per game and ranked second on the team in scoring (9.9 ppg), second in field goal percentage (40.8), first in rebounding (6.5), first in steals (1.6) and second in blocked shots (0.9).

Montgomery said Dalia brings a certain toughness to the court.

“I would say rebounding and defense are what we rely on her for,” Montgomery said. “That’s not to say she is not an offensive player because she certainly is. Like I said, she can score in a lot of versatile ways, but I’d say her biggest asset that we will always rely on her for is rebounding and defense.”

Dalia’s commitment to the Bates women’s basketball program impressed Montgomery, who said she has “flashes of sheer panic thinking about what we lose when she is not with our program anymore.”

“We recruited her hard and she took a chance on me, not being really familiar with our school, never having really been to Maine, so she took that chance and she’s elevated our program,” Montgomery added. “She took a chance on (us) and bought in from day one. She has bumped up the level in every way … For that, I am forever grateful for what she has brought to our program and what her legacy will be when she graduates.”


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