Brenham, TX Buccaneers Looking To Build On Historic Season
Blinn is coming off a 32-win season and national tournament appearance
Jeff Jenkins doesn’t have his sights set on another 32-win season and the 12th-year Blinn College women’s basketball head coach certainly isn’t looking ahead at the NJCAA national tournament in March.
He’s just focusing on the present.
“I’ve coached 15 years and that’s the first time in my career I’ve coached a team to 32 wins and the Elite Eight, so it’s not like it’s going to happen every year,” Jenkins said.
Five players return from last year’s historic season. Sophomores Fatima Adams, Amari Jones, Danielle Espinoza, Tierra Tucker and Shanequa Gaston combined for more than 2,800 minutes a season ago.
“I feel like last year set the momentum for this year,” Jones said.
“We’re going to build off that success.”
The Bucs added three transfers in Tayler Weiks (University of Idaho), Katrina Hayden (Arizona Western) and Shunta Nevitt (Texas Tech University), and thanks to another strong freshmen class brought in by assistant coach Alexis Green that includes high school state tournament players in Shakera Barnes from Snook and Rye Ball from Clear Springs, and Alexus Freeman, Navasota High School’s all-time leading scorer, the Bucs are poised to build off last season’s success.
Blinn is already garnering preseason attention. The Bucs are ranked sixth in the National Junior College Athletic Association preseason poll released Monday. They begin their 2013-14 campaign Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Victoria College.
Jenkins thoughts on this year’s players:
Amari Jones, Fatima Adams, Danielle Espinoza, Shanequa Gaston, Tierra Tucker:
“We played nine players last season, and five of them are coming back. They all played at least 500-600 minutes last season, so that’s a lot of players with a lot of game experience.”
Moe Bedford, who tore her Achilles: “Losing Moe, who’s our second-leading scorer returning, is going to really hurt us. But she’ll come back and be ready next year.”
TAYLER WEIKS, University of Idaho: “She averaged four points a game in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) as a freshman, so she’s played at a very high level. She had a five 3-pointer game against San Jose State. She may be the best 3-point shooter I’ve had in a long time.”
KATRINA HAYDEN, Arizona Western: “She averaged eight points a game at Arizona Western. She can flat out play. She’s kind of a combo point guard/two guard.”
Shunta Nevitt, Texas Tech University: “She signed with Texas Tech out of the Big 12. . She’s 6-foot-1 really long and athletic. Her height and length with a strong skill set should be a tough defensive matchup for opponents.”
Shakera Barnes: “She played in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches all-star game, the Texas High School Coaches Association’s all-star game, and her high school basketball team went to state her senior year. She was named the track 1A-2A-3A athlete of the year. She won the 400-meter dash at Snook as a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. That’s never been done in the UIL before. Her time would have finished in second in 5A. She’s as athletic as they come, and she’s a really good kid and a really hard worker.”
Alexus Freeman: “She’s the all-time leading scorer in Navasota history. She can put the ball in the hole. She’s got a good 3-point shot, and she’s got a good mid-range shot, which a lot of players don’t have.”
Rye Ball: “She’s a left-handed, undersized post. With her athleticism she should be very tough for bigger players to contend with.”
Brianna Luton: “She plays extremely hard and is very competitive. Bri shoots the three pointer well and gives us size at the guard position.”
Miya Hoskins: “She is also a local player out of Snook High School. She is very strong and quick. Miya should be a great on the ball defender for us.”
Vatoria Peterson, who tore her Achilles: “She’s hurt, so she’s going to redshirt for us this year, but when she takes the court next season, she will be a force to be reckoned with it.”
For more information on Blinn women’s basketball, visit www.buccaneersports.com.
· Blinn hasn’t lost a non-conference game since 2010: a 73-53 loss to Grayson College on Dec. 31.
· Blinn’s 32 wins last year is the most in the program’s 36-year history, and shattered the previous record of 26 set in 2008.
· Last season was the second straight season the Bucs have won at least 20 games.
· Last season’s trip to the national tournament was the program’s second trip in its history.
· Blinn’s 72-63 win over Kaskaskia College at the national tournament was the program’s first win on the national stage. The Bucs went on to beat Darton (Ga.) 79-72, then lost to Trinity Valley 90-69 in the Elite Eight.
· Blinn’s overall record at the national tournament is 2-2.