Nashville --- Despite having a young core and only one senior on this year's team, the Tennessee State University women's basketball team is determined to put in the work necessary for success. TSU will begin its first official day of practice on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
TSU returns eight players from 2009-10 and will look to improve upon a 10-18 finish last season.
Meredith Stafford, a 5-6 guard, will be the lone senior on the 2010-11 Lady Tiger squad. Stafford, a native of Memphis, Tenn., was the team's second leading scorer last season, nearly averaging double-digits with 9.8 points per game.
Stafford's offensive game came on towards the second half of the season as she only averaged 5.5 points and 2.6 rebounds through the first 16 games. A 19-point performance at Jacksonville State (Jan. 19) sparked a burst that saw Stafford lead the team in scoring, with 15.6 points per game, through the final games of the season.
Stafford is the only consistent starter from last year's team as the Lady Tigers lost leading scorer and All-OVC selection Oby Okafor, TSU's all-time career assists leader LaDona Pierce, defensive spark Nikki Rumph and post player Chelsea Cromartie.
Hess, a native of Dublin, Ohio, started in seven contests last season and was second on the team in three-pointers. The 5-10 guard had a break-out game against Murray State last season where she poured in 24 points on 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.
Ashley Tate (5-6, guard) averaged the most minutes per game (17.7) among the returning sophomores and played in 25 games. A native of Memphis, Tenn., she got the nod to start six times and turned in 3.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest.
Jasmin Shuler, Simone Hopes and Avery Jones also started in six games last season. Shuler, a 5-8 guard from Clarksville, Tenn., led the Lady Tigers in made 3-pointers as well as 3-point shooting percentage. She finished the season with a team-best .913 free-throw percentage and scored in double-figures in five games.
Hopes (5-10, forward) was among the teams' top rebounders and played in 27 games as a freshman. She nearly recorded a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds versus Lipscomb (Nov. 28) and turned in another 10-point performance against Jacksonville State later in the season.
Jones, a native of Louisville, played in 26 contests despite on-going injuries throughout the season. The 6-1 forward averaged 3.0 rebounds in 9.8 minutes of play.
Denisha Mumford rounds out the returners for TSU. A native of Hopkinsville, Ky., Mumford saw action in 15 contests as freshman. The 5-9 guard, averaged 9.1 minutes pulled down 1.7 rebounds per game.
In addition to last season's returners, TSU will welcome six newcomers for the 2010-11 season.
Junior College transfer Kimberly Haynes, the only junior among the newcomers, will bring experience to the point guard position for TSU.
She will join freshmen Alana Morris, Chelsea Hudson, Tanesha Stenson, Tayla Foster and Jasmine Brimm.