The 2016-17 Blinn College women's basketball will count on its depth, talent and athleticism as it seeks its fourth NJCAA Division I National Tournament appearance in five years.
The Buccaneers will feature 11 sophomores in their quest for their sixth consecutive 20-win season. Blinn begins the season ranked No. 14 in the first preseason poll released by the NJCAA.
"We are a deep team this year and every position can run the court," head coach Jeff Jenkins said. "We are athletic and can earn transition points on offense, and should only improve on defense as the year goes along."
The Buccaneers went 26-9 last season en route to a Region XIV Tournament championship and a Sweet 16 appearance at the national tournament. Four players contributed with solid minutes to that national tournament run return for this season.
Bryanna Taylor (Springfield, Mo.) played in 32 of 35 games last year and averaged 4.7 points per game. Taylor is a quick player with a quality shot and can score. Jasline Chandler (Cleburne) played in all 35 games, primarily as a low-post player, but has improved her ball-handling and could play the guard position as well.
Abigail Whyte (Spring) was routinely called on to defend an opponent's best player but has shown improvement with her shooting and could score more in her sophomore season. Denisha Ford (Navasota) scored in double figures twice last season and has a nice 15-foot jump shot that could be a weapon this season.
Daikea Milton (Houston), Ke'Asia Williams (Bryan), and Whitney Mouton (Houston) were on the team last year as well. Milton played in 26 games a year ago and is a good ball-handler who can shoot. Williams played well in two games last year before suffering a knee injury, but is back as a redshirt freshman who can rebound and attack the basket. Mouton redshirted last year and has shown improvement on her shot thanks to hard work in the gym.
Blinn has plenty of new faces on the team this year who are either incoming freshmen or transfers from four-year schools.
The Buccaneers have four new guards who can contribute to the athletic and fast-paced style of play that Jenkins likes to run. Alexis Oaks (College Station), Jasmine Redmon (Sacramento, Calif.), Janae Smith (Houston) and De'Jhoria Robertson (Rockdale) should all contribute at the guard position.
Oaks ran track in high school, and Redmon is a transfer from the University of Hawaii who can play the point. Smith is a transfer from Grambling State University with a strong mid-range shooting ability, and Robertson is coming off a high school knee injury but has returned to full health and will bring athleticism and rebounding.
Six new Buccaneer forwards will help to gather rebounds and score in the low post. Karissa Black (Pflugerville), Jade Rochelle (Grandview), Brenisha Coleman (Cypress), Tiara Marbley (Houston), Missy Archie (Huntsville) and Ashley Caldwell (Cypress) are all in the mix for playing time at the forward position.
"We usually don't have much size but this year is different," Jenkins said. "The hardest part might be selecting the best eight to 10 players because we are so deep."
Black is a transfer from Nicholls State University who can play like a stretch forward and shoot from the outside. Rochelle is athletic and can handle the ball well for a post, while Coleman is a 6-foot transfer from Nicholls State.
The 6-foot-2 Marbley will add size, while Archie will give the Buccaneers an athletic forward who can jump for rebounds. Caldwell is a transfer from Howard Payne University with long arms and can run the court well.
"I really like this team and they come to work every day," Jenkins said. "If they come together as a team, it could be a special season."
Blinn will open the season on Tuesday, Nov. 1 with a road game against Temple College at 5:30 p.m.
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 19,422 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.