ASU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL RELOADS 2015-16 SQUAD
MONTGOMERY- The 2015 Alabama State Women’s Basketball Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Champs has reloaded their 2015-16 team with more guns. Head Coach Freda Freeman-Jackson has signed five players along with two earlier commits.
The five new additions are Danielle Clark, Damya Toney, Victoria Harvey, Raven Russell and Elisiah Jones.
“I think my coaches and I have done a great job of recruiting this year,” Freeman-Jackson said. “We knew what we were looking for and we also know what it will take to continue a winning caliber program. Our focus is to continue what we did last year, but even better and these young ladies will assist us with that.”
Clark is a 5-8 transfer junior from the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Conference (GCAA). The sophomore guard was selected to the third team All-Region. She saw 27 games and started in 21. Clark scored a season high of 32 points against Pensacola State College back in November of 2014. The former Georgia Perimeter College player finished her season averaging 14 points per game and totaled 377 points for the season. She shot 30.9 percent from the field, 25.9 percent from around the 3-pt arch and was a 68 percent free throw shooter. The Douglasville, Ga. native will be majoring in sports management.
“Danielle is a type player that we call a SWACer,” said Freeman-Jackson. “When we went to see her play we saw that she was a caliber player, one that is experienced and she’s a three point shooter. We needed another shooter one that will be opposite of Kayla Tucker, so that we can stretch the defense and our post players will be able to have a more one on one type game. She not only brings great experience, but she brings size for us at the guard spot.”
“We have been looking for someone who can put the ball on the floor, can shoot the ball and can defend it, with Danielle being able to do all those things that will help us especially with us losing Tabitha Bradshaw. She should be able to step right in and take up that slack for us.”
Toney a Detroit, Michigan native from Paris Junior College will be joining ASU as a combo guard. She is a 5-6 junior college transfer who as a freshman, had a game high of 25 points in a win against Panola College in which, she made five three pointers in the game. In that same year she was named as a NJCAA Honorable Mention player. As a sophomore she averaged 15.3 pts per game and was a 70 percent free throw shooter. Toney had six 20+ points’ games this past season with a season high of 29 against Trinity Valley Community College.
“With Damya once again we talk about the experience factor,” Freeman-Jackson. “We know that Shamiyah Smith was a freshman point guard for us this past year and Damya Toney can play both guard positions and she will be able to bring that experience factor, having played two years at a junior college and we know that she can shoot the ball as well. Damya is also a good defensive player and she also can shoot the three ball. We will be looking for her to also assist with stretching the defense.”
“We are bringing these junior college transfers in not to sit but because of their experience. We feel like you can’t have too much experience. By us losing Bradshaw and Danielle Gazaway we really are going to be looking for people to fill up that back court so that’s why we brought Toney and Clark in.”
Along with the experienced players the Lady Hornets will have three new freshman faces along with the other two freshmen that have already signed.
Jones, who assisted in leading her high school team Belmont High School in Belmont, MS to a 31-4 record and a ninth MHSAA (Mississippi High School Athletic Association) 3A Girls State Championship, scored twenty points or more six times and averaged 15.5 points per game, 2.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. During her senior year she tallied 541 points playing in all 35 games.
“While I was out recruiting in Jackson, Miss. and we were looking for a complete guard that could do a little of everything, and they didn’t have to be a junior college transfer,” Freeman-Jackson said. “We were looking for a freshman, a kid that had size and Jones was that young lady that has a college body already and her mindset seemed to me ready for what we are looking for. She was a glue type player with her team as far as running the team. She could do a lot of things that I saw and I liked. Jones can really be a combo guard, because she can play both guard spots and I just like the way she handled the team.”
“Jones will bring that Danielle Ewert type of play to the guard spot. She’s physical and tough and she has that great size and those are some of the things that Ewert has and they both have a very high IQ when it comes to basketball.”
Alabama State women’s basketball has been consistent with recruiting local talent. Not only have they recruited these two young ladies in the early signing period; Tatyana Calhoun from Carver High School (Montgomery) and Zomoria Clark from Wetumpka High School. They have now picked up two Stanhope Elmore High School stand outs.
Victoria Harvey a 6-4, center averaged double-double figures during her senior campaign (14 point and 16 rebounds per game). Russell who scored 1,200 total career high school points as well as had eight or more 20 plus points games will be joining ASU as a guard/forward.
“Both Harvey and Russell came on their visit together and they both enjoyed visiting with us,” said Freeman-Jackson. “The thing about the both of them is that we’ve been watching them for a year or so and it was whether or not they could fit into what we are doing here at ASU.”
“Harvey has that size and the sky is the limit for her, because she has that college size body already. Her dad was an outstanding college ball player, which played for SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) foe Mississippi Valley Derrick Harvey. She has the best of both worlds she’s close to home but not really at home. I feel like Harvey will be a great fit for us here at ASU.”
“Raven is one of the best athletes in the state when it comes to female sports. She has a passion and love for college basketball and she has that high energy, that motor that reminds me of former player Taila Arrington. She plays 100 miles an hour and also has a good IQ for basketball. Once she defines all her skills she can play the guard/forward type spot and she will be able to guard anybody. Russell will come in and give us that boost and high energy level, which as a guard in the SWAC we need to be able to guard people in multiple positions.”
“We are so happy to have all these young ladies here at Alabama State University especially to add on to what we already have coming back. I think that this will make us a complete ball club. Not only with tweeners like Britney Wright, Ewert and Ashunti Spencer, but having that size of our centers that we have coming in (Calhoun, Clark and Harvey) this will give us a great front line.
The 2015-16 roster will be filled with different athletic components and a treat for the Lady Hornets basketball team fans.