On the court, in the classroom and in the community the Jacksonville University women’s basketball team has always exemplified excellence and while the 2013-14 season came to an end last Tuesday, the squad still has plenty to be proud of. Under the direction of first-year head coach Yolett McPhee McCuin, the Dolphins wrapped the year with a record of 13-17 overall and 10-8 in the Atlantic Sun and also clinched the No. 4 seed. It was Jacksonville's highest finish since 2008-09 and earned the team the right to host a home quarterfinal game in the conference championships.
“Obviously the last outing didn’t end the way we would have liked, but our last game can in no way define our season,” said Coach McCuin. “There is a lot to be celebrated and a lot that we can build on as far as the future is concerned. I am encouraged by the steps we took as a program this year and our end goal is still to win an A-Sun Championship. Once we achieve that, we’ll set another goal for this program.”
Q&A with Coach McCuin
With graduation just around the corner, Jacksonville loses forward Jade Cargill, guard Stephanie Edwards, guard Ciara McLee, and center Madison Scott. The quartet amassed 1,867 points, 1,328 rebounds, 332 assists, 321 steals, and 87 blocks over the last four years.
Q: What did you say to your seniors following Tuesday’s game?
A: I just talked to them about the next phase of their life. We are a family so I will always be accessible to them. Our focus is to make sure that they finish strong in the classroom and are prepared to live life after college.
Queen Alford directed JU in scoring with 13.6 points per game to earn a spot on the Second Team All-Atlantic Sun while Sherranda Reddick, a unanimous selection to the A-Sun All-Freshman team, was the second leading scorer and captain Briona Brown finished third.
Q: What did you tell your returners after Tuesday’s game?
A: I spoke to them about setting goals and not stopping until they reach them. There is so much success in store for those young women; they just have to commit to achieving every bit of it.
Q: What’s next on the agenda for JU women’s basketball?
A: The players will get right back in the lab after Spring Break and begin their quest of winning an A-Sun Championship. They will continue with their weight lifting regimen and skill development with my staff. My staff and I will get back to the drawing board and prepare to equip our team with the necessary tools to compete night in and night out. Recruiting is going great; I think the JU community and Duval will embrace the new prospects next season.
Q: You now officially have one season under your belt, how does it feel? What game was most memorable for you?
A: I really haven’t had a chance to reflect on this basketball season as of yet, but I do know that I will never forget it. I am just blessed to have the opportunity to lead a group of individuals and equip them with the tools to be their best at all times. I’ve learned so much this season from my staff and team, and about myself. There was not one memorable game but I will cherish every moment.
Coach McCuin has a busy summer ahead of her with dual coaching duties. As the head coach of the Bahamian national women’s team, she will take a trip back to her home country in a few months to prepare for the upcoming Olympics while coaches Darnell Haney, Camielle Collier and Brandon Rohr will stay in the states to gear up for the next season.