N.C A&T Women’s Basketball season preview

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Alexis Davis, Contributor

The Lady Aggies are eager to compete in the  2020-2021 basketball season due to new staff additions and fierce recruiting class.

As last season kicked off, winning predictions for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) were in the favor of the Lady Aggies. They were reigning back-to-back regular-season champions showing much promise. Unfortunately, the team experienced unforeseen injuries and could not secure a three-peat.

Overall, the Lady Aggies went 19-10 and 11-5 in the MEAC. As the season progressed, the team showed they thrive the most when they have the home-court advantage by only suffering two losses in Corbett Sports Center.

It was becoming clear last year that the team was not going to be able to beat North Carolina Central University. This loss was going to force the Lady Aggies to turn in their spot in the MEAC tournament, but they did not go down without a fight. 

Jayla Jones-Pack, a senior center for the Lady Aggies, shared the top spot on the leaderboard for the game by contributing 11 points. Even though it was not enough to bring home a victory, Jones-Pack is expected to have an impactful 2020-2021 season while playing her role as a key player. 

Jones-Pack is going to be a staple for the Lady Aggies this year. Her ability to generate rebounds is going to be an essential asset for the team this coming season.

“Her versatility is a premium for the women’s basketball program,” the Lady Aggies head coach said in an interview with N.C. A&T’s website.

During the 2019-2020 season, she was the ninth-ranked rebounder in the MEAC as well shooting 48.1% from the floor.

Deja Winters, a senior forward, is back and ready to finish off her senior season. Last season, Winters showed repeatedly that she is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with some of the nation’s finest. When the Lady Aggies faced Clemson University, Winters went for a season-high of 27 points.

One of the team’s new hires includes assistant coach, Steven Rhodes. Rhodes has a championship-winning history making the Lady Aggies feel like they are in great hands. At his last stop, Belmont Abbey College, he led his team to the Conference Carolinas regular-season championship during the 2019-2020 season. This appearance was the first one in 18 seasons.

“He has a great reputation as a recruiter and player developer in our profession. He is a tireless worker and relationship builder. He will fit well with the rest of our staff,” the Lady Aggies head coach said in an interview with N.C. A&T’s website.

Jasmine Rhodes joins the Aggie basketball family as a part of player development. Jasmine has an extensive background in strength and conditioning coaching and has had coaching stops at Bethune-Cookman and William Penn.

“Being a former collegiate basketball student-athlete, she shares a connection,” the Lady Aggies head coach said in an interview with N.C. A&T’s website. “Her experience will help develop our student-athletes both mentally and physically as we continue to compete to win championships.”

As a whole, the Lady Aggies have grown by nine members. The roster has been extended to three new hopeful recruits. Asjah Innis, Jada Smith and Chanin Scott fill new guard and forward positions.

Innis, a Georgia native, spent her high school career being a top-50 player in her state as well as being the North Fulton All-State Game MVP in 2019 and member of the All-Georgia Metro team.

The team finishes their recruiting class with two transfers, Smith and Scott. Smith is a transfer from Long Beach State but did not get a chance to show fans what she could do because of limited minutes on the court. Scott is a graduate transfer from Georgia Tech contributing over 500 points.

The team has reached the bittersweet moment where they have to let go of a very impactful group of seniors, but new members and veterans are up for the challenge of filling the newly vacant shoes.

The Lady Aggies are equipped with the tools to have a successful season, all there is left to do is execute.