Women’s basketball looks to stay among conference elites

Sophomore guard Jazmine Saxton prepares to make a move during last week’s purple and white game. The Lions look to build off last season’s success and use that for this season.

UNA women’s basketball will start the season at Montevallo Nov. 12; however, the home opener will be in Flowers Hall Nov. 14 against Tennessee Temple.

Head coach Terry Fowler is excited about the nine returning lettermen, including one starter, senior guard Dana Jackson. Having a 21-7 record last year and making it to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time since 1994 established a reputation for the Lady Lions basketball program; they are looking for that same success in the 2011/2012 season.

“We lost a great group of players from last year, but we have a good core coming back,” Fowler said. “The difference is a lot of those kids who were off the bench last year will be put into a different role, possibly being starters … We expect them to contribute a little more than they’ve done in the past, and we’re excited about the returning group and their experience from last year; they want to keep that same taste in their mouths.”

Fowler is expecting several new players to be a huge asset to the women’s basketball team.

“Cierra Anderson, a freshman from Cleveland, Tenn., is one of the post players really doing well in practice so far,” Fowler said. “Delisa Madry is doing a great job at the guard spot as well. We also have a newcomer-a one-year senior; Jasmine Horne-she really grasps the things that we are doing. She is really, really good and has a chance to be an all-conference player.”

UNA has established many goals for itself. Senior guard Jessi Smith said consistency and hard work are two keys in obtaining those goals.

“We really want to be undefeated at home and protect our home court,” Smith said. “We’re going to have to work hard every day and give our best in practice. Even our bad days have to be good days.”

Coach Fowler said the depth of the bench will not be as deep as last year, but he has high hopes and goals for his team as well.

“We might not have a ten-player rotation like last year did, but right now I feel good about a solid seven or eight players, and we’d like to get nine definitely,” Fowler said. “Our biggest thing is if we can get off to a fast start; historically, we’ve gotten better each year. I feel like the young players can come along and help us out as we get into conference play.

“One of our goals is always to with the (Gulf South Conference). To get to that point, we also want to win every game at Flowers Hall and also get back into the NCAA Tournament. The goals are always the same for us; that’s just what we do at UNA.”

The Lions are scheduled to start the season on the road Nov. 12 against Montevallo.

Quick Facts

2010 Record: 21-7

Returning Starters: 1

Players to Watch:

G. Dana Jackson- 9.2 ppg.

G. Jasmine Horne- 7.5 ppg.

G. Cierra Anderson – (Fresh) 12.5 ppg.