from school reports
The Meridian Star
The East Mississippi Community College women’s basketball team is set to tip off the 2013-14 hoops campaign against a pair of Texas-based schools this weekend at the Lady Bear Classic in Baton Rouge, La. The two-day tournament, hosted by Baton Rouge Community College, will take place Friday and Saturday.
Guided by head coach Sharon Thompson, the EMCC Lady Lions are slated to take on San Jacinto College Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. prior to meeting Houston Community College Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. A year ago, EMCC earned its first win of the 2012-13 season with a 50-48 double-overtime victory over San Jacinto in Baton Rouge.
“We’ve changed up a lot of things this season within our program, so we’re still learning the system together,” noted Thompson, who enters her ninth EMCC season as head women’s coach needing eight victories to reach the 100-win mark for her career. “We’ve also been stressing defense more than ever this preseason.”
Looking to rebound from back-to-back 7-16 seasons, Thompson returns six players from last year’s squad, including the team’s top two scorers in Takera Mitchell and Savannah Kimmons. Mitchell, a guard from Wayne County High School, averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game to earn MACJC All-North Division First Team accolades. A product of Horn Lake High School, Kimmons collected a team-high 7.0 rebounds an outing a year ago along with 9.3 points to claim second-team all-division honors.
Other EMCC returnees from a season ago include West Point’s Wilma Davis, Nockeyia Qualls of Forest, Starkville’s Janay Townsel, and Charmane Tims from Clarkdale High School, who collectively combined for 37 starts last year.
Former prep teammates Kyra Gulledge and Precious Rogers from three-time reigning MHSAA Class 1A State Champion H.W. Byers High School are expected to headline the Lady Lions’ eight-member newcomer contingent along with West Harrison High School product Jaylen Cox. Gulledge, a 6-foot-1 post player, transferred to EMCC after redshirting last season at Furman University.
The EMCC women also look to receive immediate contributions from a trio of out-of-state players in Chicago’s Dana Gettis as well as native Floridians LeRia Jenrette and Lashyra Butler, who played for first-year EMCC assistant women’s coach Michael Morgan at Oldsmar Christian School.
Also new to the East Mississippi club this season are Starkville’s Brittany Brown and Carrie Brown of Columbus.
“I’ve been impressed with our ability to score the basketball during our preseason jamborees,” Thompson continued. “We have quality depth at our guard positions and they can score.”
The EMCC Lady Lions return to the Magnolia State next week to meet Meridian Community College on the road in a men’s/women’s doubleheader on Thursday (Nov. 7) before tipping off their home schedule the following Thursday (Nov. 14) by playing host to East Central Community College. Doubleheader action begins at 5:30 p.m. at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.