The Blinn College women's basketball team is sending five players from its 2015-16 national tournament-qualifying team to play at four-year universities next season.
The Buccaneers are coming off a 26-9 record in 2015-16, which included a Region XIV Tournament championship and a trip to the Division I National Tournament in Lubbock. Blinn made the national tournament in three out of the last four years and just the second Region XIV Tournament championship since the program began in 1979.
"This is a great group that won the regional tournament and earned a trip to the national tournament," said Jeff Jenkins, women's basketball coach. "They will be difficult to replace."
Three players will be playing at Division I schools next year. Ekiya Gray (Houston) signed with Auburn University, Ebony Parker (Houston) signed with the University of Tulsa and Jeliah Preston (Houston) signed with Wichita State University. Gray, Parker and Preston were teammates at Klein Forest High School.
Penina Faumui (Honolulu, Hawaii) signed with Division II Texas A&M University-Commerce and Gabriella Odom (Houston) signed with Division II Colorado Christian University.
Gray was a do-everything player for the Buccaneers, ranking second on the team in scoring with 13.9 points per game while leading the team in assists (3.9) and steals (1.7). Gray earned all-region, all-conference and national all-tournament honors.
Parker was named an honorable mention All-American and broke the NJCAA record for 3-pointers made in a season with 144. Parker led the Buccaneers with 17.5 points per game and was named to the All-Region XIV and All-Region XIV Tournament teams. Parker and Gray shared Blinn's Don Wilhelm Award as the team's most valuable players.
Preston was Blinn's third-leading scorer at 12.8 points per game and was named All-Region XIV Tournament and all-conference. Faumui turned on her game near the end of the season and was named Region XIV Tournament MVP. She averaged 8.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game for the season.
Odom played a huge roll for the Buccaneers on and off the court and was named to the Spring 2016 Don Wilhelm Athletic Director's Honor Roll along with Faumui, Preston and Parker for maintaining a grade point average (GPA) above 3.0. Odom was named an NJCAA Academic All-American for her performance in the classroom.
"Gabby (Odom) had terrific leadership skills and did a great job all season of keeping us focused," Jenkins said. "She also provided the team with humor when we needed to be loose."
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 34 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.
About Blinn College
With an enrollment of 19,370 students, Blinn ranks among the nation's leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu.