JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It has been nearly eight months since the Jackson State women’s basketball suffered heartbreak. A four-point loss to Southern in the SWAC championship game kept the Lady Tigers from their first NCAA tournament bid in over a decade.
In the time since, JSU coach Tomekia Reed has tried not to speak about that defeat too much, whether that was to the media or to her players during practice. But while it may be unspoken, the Lady Tigers still use that hurt as motivation.
“We don’t talk a whole lot about last year,” said Reed, who is set to enter her second season at JSU. “But it’s definitely something that sits with every last one of us.”
Reed attributes her team’s lack of depth as one of the main reasons for that loss to the Lady Jaguars and she set out to remedy that this offseason by bringing in a handful of transfers, including former Mississippi State center Ameshya Williams. Favoring an uptempo style of play, Reed estimates that as many as 10 players could fill out her rotation and that there are still open spots in the starting five with a lot of competition.
“Going into this season I wanted to recruit more and better athletes,” Reed explained. “Athletes that could come into the game and give our starters a break and still not lose that tempo and momentum.”
One spot in the starting five that is locked up is by senior forward Maneisha Hamer. The heart and soul of the Lady Tigers run to the SWAC championship game last season, she led JSU both in scoring with 16.2 points per game and in rebounds with 6.8. After catching the conference by surprise last season, Hamer knows that won’t be the case this season and is putting in the work to take her game to an even higher level.
“A lot of people didn’t expect us to get that far so I’m excited,” she said. “I just want to win it all this year.”
The road to accomplishing that goal begins next Tuesday in New Orleans, LA as the Lady Tigers face Tulane.