NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State University women's basketball team will hold its first official practice on Sunday afternoon in the Gentry Center. Here are five things to know as the preparation for the 2017-18 season begins.
- On Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Jessica Kern was named the head women’s basketball coach at Tennessee State.
- She became the 11th head coach in program history.
- Kern has held collegiate coaching positions at Mississippi Valley State University, Furman University, Lincoln (Pa.) University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Arkansas Pine-Bluff.
- Tiger Fans will see a lot of new faces on the court this season.
- The Lady Tigers have six returners from last year’s team and 10 newcomers.
- Eight of the new additions are freshmen while transfers Lauren Elliott and Cebria Outlow round out the first year Lady Tigers.
- Elliott and Outlow will not be eligible to compete this season due to NCAA transfer rules but will be able to participate in practice.
The Lone Senior
- Maxine Beard will be the only senior on the court for the Lady Tigers this season.
- She will be joined by redshirt junior Tia Wooten, juniors Asia Sims and Franceska Brown, as well as sophomores Kaliya Griffin and Rekha Berry.
Returners Will Need to Play Bigger Roles
- Tia Wooten (7.8 ppg) and Kaliya Griffin (6.9 ppg) were the 5th and 6th leading scorers on the team a year ago.
- Wooten averaged 15.3 minutes per outing while Griffin played 23.3 minutes per game.
- Maxine Beard started in 11 out of 26 games and averaged 19.7 minutes per contest. She turned in 3.8 points, 1.2. steals and nearly two assists per game.
- Asia Sims (9.3 mpg), Rekha Berry (8.7mpg) and Franceska Brown (4.0 mpg) also saw action last season for TSU.
Newcomers Have An Opportunity to Contribute Early
- With only six returners from last year’s team, the eight freshmen have an opportunity to step up early.
- TSU only returns 34% of an offense that averaged 65.0 points per game last season.
- The freshman class boasts a number of proven winners on the high school level, an athlete of the year, a conference champion and the state of Oklahoma’s all-time leading scorer.
- The Lady Tigers have players from 13 states on the 2017-18 team.
- Alabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia are all represented.
Countdown to the Season Opener
- TSU will get its final tune-up of the season on Nov. 3 in an exhibition contest versus Kentucky State before officially kicking off the 2017-18 campaign Nov. 10 at Memphis.
We’re Talking About Practice
- The first official practice is set for 1 p.m. in the Gentry Center on Sunday, Oct. 1.
- It is open to the public.