Davis Jones faces new challenges with young squad

As the 2012-13 Lady Lions basketball team prepares for the upcoming season, new challenges await them. Head coach Lori Davis Jones returns at the helm for the Lady Lions and this year’s team is the youngest of her 11-year tenure.
“We’ll be doing more teaching during this preseason, and we’ll have to be patient as our new players become acclimated to what we’re trying to do,” said Davis Jones.
Five letter winners return from last year’s team along with the two starters in the post in junior All-Southland selection Aja Gibson and senior Brandi Simmons. Together the duo averaged over 20 points per game and nearly 15 rebounds per game. With a young team, Coach Davis Jones knows her veteran leadership from players like Gibson and Simmons will be key on and off the court.
 “We feel good about where we are in the post with Aja and Brandi,” stated Davis Jones in a press release. “Our veterans have done a nice job thus far stepping up as leaders on the court and in the locker room.”
With the addition of seven newcomers and the departure of All-Southland point guard Kelli Jenkins, young players like sophomore Elizabeth Styles and junior Taylor Mims, who missed all of last season, will be thrust into bigger roles in the Lady Lion back court.
“Elizabeth and Taylor will provide us with a very good point guard tandem,” Davis Jones stated. “We feel comfortable with either running the show, and we feel like they’re both versatile enough that we’ll be able to play both together at times during the season.”
More than any other position this season the Lady Lions really improved on the wing. Sophomore guard Symone Miller and senior Cierra Morris were key players off the bench last season for the team and they are expected to play a larger part in the action this season. The Lady Lions also added NJCAA All-American Jameika Hoskins at the wing who will provide more athleticism to the position.
“We feel like we have increased our talent level and our overall athleticism with the additions we’ve made. We have really improved our athleticism on the wing,” stated Davis Jones. “Our biggest issue will be finding a way to fit all of our off-guard talent into the rotation. It’s a deep group with a lot of firepower.”
Some key freshmen additions for the Lady Lions include wing players Erica Hernandez, Bianca Harvey and post players Raven Reyes and Ty’desheaia Pool.
“The encouraging thing is that our newcomers have come in full of energy and are eager to be coached,” stated Davis Jones. “Ty’desheaia is talented enough to provide an immediate impact and we really like the added dimension Raven’s size is going to give us.”
The Lady Lions and their newly talented team will open the season on Nov 9. on the road at Ole Miss, one of 8 non-conference games on the road. The team will open up its home slate on Nov. 13 versus Mobile.