‘This Team Has the Talent to do Great Things,’ Coach Says
The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Women’s Basketball Team is heading into its 2017-18 season as an almost entirely new team, with one returning player. While some might label this season a “growing year,” Ardell Jackson, who is in his third season as the team’s head coach, is enthusiastic about his young team.
“We only have one sophomore, Siani Downs, who played for me in my first season at CSM and sat out last year; everyone else is a freshman,” Jackson said. “We have a very good group and they are working hard and doing all the things that we are asking of them and really representing CSM athletics in a very positive way.”
The team has already demonstrated some key strengths — speed, athleticism, hustle, shooting and chemistry, Jackson said. “These young ladies really enjoy playing with each other and really look out for each other.”
In addition to returning player, Saundra “Siani” Downs of Pomfret (guard), who is this year’s team captain, the 2017-18 team includes Courtney Herbert of Fort Washington (guard), Deana Monroe of Suitland (guard), Alexis Chase of Largo (guard), Jennifer Nanosi of Bladensburg (guard), Te’a Green of Capitol Heights (forward), Aliyah Jackson of Laurel (forward), Tatyana Jones of Prince Frederick (forward), Keisha Cooper of College Park (guard), Alexandra Allen of Billings, Montana (forward), Shayla Glover of Upper Marlboro (forward) and Amashia Moyd of Gaithersburg (guard).
Jackson noted that Downs’ leadership as the team captain has set a strong tone as the team begins the season. “She is very positive and really gets her teammates motivated to work hard in the classroom and on the court.”
One of the team goals for the year is to shine both on and off the court. “Our overall expectation this season is to compete on the court while being successful in the classroom,” Jackson said. “We feel that this team has the talent to do great things on the court, but we are pushing our players to strive for that same excellence on the academic side. We have a great group of student athletes and they are working extremely hard to achieve all of the goals that we have set as a team.”
CSM Executive Director of Student Life and Athletics Michelle Ruble said it is no accident that this year’s team is made up of academically inclined athletes. “The head coach and his staff developed new recruitment criteria, which assisted them to determine the athletes who want to succeed academically and athletically,” Ruble said. “They believe it has worked well and our team has a solid core of athletes who will not only represent CSM well on the court, but will also do the same in the classroom. We are all looking forward to seeing the ladies compete.”
The regular season includes close to 30 games and runs from Oct. 20 through Feb. 11. But Jackson is already looking beyond regular season play. “Of course, with every team you want to win the championship, and we feel that if this team can continue to work hard academically and on the court that they will have opportunity night-in and night-out to compete for a Region XX championship,” he said.
Working with Jackson are assistant coaches Marcus LeCounte and Kim Barnes. LeCounte will serve as the team’s strength and conditioning coach and Barnes as the recruiting coordinator.
For information about the Hawks’ schedule, statistics or roster, visit http://athletics.csmd.edu/sports/wbkb/index.