Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin makes her head coaching debut as the Jacksonville University women's basketball team opens its 2013-14 season at Florida A&M on Friday, Nov. 8 at 11:30 a.m.
“Since obtaining the job I haven’t had an opportunity to take everything in,” said McCuin. “Having to assemble a staff with recruiting and camp around the corner, I was constantly on the go. Now that we are on the cusp of our first game, I’ve realized how blessed I am to lead this group of young ladies. As a head coach, I’m excited about the future success of my players and we intend for many special moments to occur this season.”
Jacksonville has an accomplished squad running the court, with five seniors among the eight returning players and five newcomers. Last season, the Fins had an overall record of 11-19 and finished 7-11 in the Atlantic Sun.
After a successful freshman campaign, guard Queen Alford returns to the green and gold as a unanimously selection to the 2013-14 Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference Team. She led the Fins and all freshmen in the conference in scoring with 11.6 points per game and finished ninth in the A-Sun in rebounds with 6.3 per game.
“Queen has been working hard on her game,” commented McCuin. “She had a great summer and preseason and our expectation is for her to pick up where she ended last season.”
Reappearing in the frontcourt is senior Jade Cargill. Coming off of another solid defensive season, Cargill commanded three top-ten conference statistics including placing third in rebounds (7.8 RPG), seventh in steals (1.7 SPG) and tenth in blocks (0.7 BPG).
“I inherited five seniors that want to leave a legacy that they can be proud of,” continued McCuin. “They have embraced instruction and are eager to showcase and fulfill their roles.”
The Dolphins will have plenty of senior leadership on the team from Ronisha Mitchell, Stephanie Edwards, Ciara McLee, Madison Scott and Cargill as well as through the A-Sun’s No. 3 block leader, Briona Brown.
Four of the five Dolphin newcomers are freshmen. Coach McCuin expects everyone to play and believes fans should be excited for what is to come from the young Fins. “Everyone will have the opportunity to contribute. Our brand of basketball is up-tempo, aggressive and disciplined. I’m excited about all 13 players, each of the them adds a piece to the championship puzzle.”
Florida A&M, a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team, ended last season 11-19 overall and 4-8 in the MEAC, and were ousted on the first day of the MEAC tournament.
“FAMU will be a great first game for us,” continued McCuin. “They have the Preseason Player of the Year in guard Jasmine Grice and they are senior led.”
Grice, who graduated in the summer, will play her final season as a graduate student. She was in the top 10 in NCAA Division-I scoring for most of last season, averaging 21.7 per game.
The Fins will also have to keep watch on senior guard Kimberly Sparkman who dropped 86 three-pointers last season to lead the Lady Rattlers.
“In order for us to come out victorious we will need to play our style of basketball for 40 minutes… I encourage fans to come out and support these young ladies. The style of the play and tempo will be exciting and fun!”