BOONEVILLE – For the second consecutive campaign, the Northeast Mississippi Community College women’s basketball program boasts a roster full of rookies.
It will not be as bad as it was last spring when the Lady Tigers featured only two sophomores, including none with every day starting experience, during their abbreviated season.
Northeast’s 2021-22 edition does benefit from three returning starters. However, 11 total newcomers will receive a quick introduction to the rugged Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC).
“I think that we’ll bounce back,” said Lady Tigers head coach Brenda Mayes. “We’ve been talking about being ready to make a difference and getting Northeast back on the map.”
Calysia Phillips was the leading scorer for the Lady Tigers last season with 10.3 points per game. The Coahoma County High School graduate was also one of only two players to earn a starting nod from Mayes in all 15 contests.
Left-hander Brittney Oswalt of Wheeler got better as the year went on with three double-digit efforts in her final six appearances. That included a career-best 15 points against Holmes Community College.
Sanaa Finley gives Northeast some needed experience in the paint. The Ingomar High School alumnus topped the Lady Tigers with a 40.5 field goal percentage and was second on the team with a free throw percentage of 68.
A pair of Tate County natives in Nariah Alexander and Shandrea Watson round out the list of second-year freshmen for Northeast. Alexander is a transfer from Northwest Mississippi Community College while Watson averaged 4.9 points for the black-and-gold.
Joining Watson from Independence High School are her sister Andrea Watson and Kaitlyn Lindsey. Andrea was an All-State Honorable Mention selection by Mississippi Gridiron as a junior while Lindsey bolsters the Lady Tigers’ post presence with her 6-2 frame.
A majority of Northeast’s new additions participated in the 2021 Northeast Mississippi Basketball Coaches Association (NEMBCA) All-Star Game, including Quay Bailey and Nashira Jennings.
The duo combined for 40 points in the Class 1A/2A contest. Bailey, who was a two-time All-State recipient, and Jennings also led Calhoun City High School to state championship and runner-up finishes during their junior and senior campaigns.
Keyunna Tellis ended her prep career at Oxford High School after moving from the delta. She was named to the Oxford Eagle All-Area team after posting 10.2 points per outing in her lone season with the Lady Chargers.
Sydney Flake and Ella Mask were both decorated athletes at Ripley and Alcorn Central high schools. Flake was an All-Tippah County pick while Mask was the co-Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the All-Alcorn County team as a senior.
Rounding out the list of true freshmen for the Lady Tigers are the Amory tandem of Jatavia Smith and Amaya Trimble plus Sequoia White from Shannon. All three led their respective programs to the state playoffs one year ago.
“We’re ready to see how well we’ll do,” Mayes said. “As long as we can stay healthy, we’ve got enough players on the inside to let the outside guards do what they need to do.”
Northeast begins the new campaign with a road trip to Northwest Mississippi Community College on Monday, November 1. The home opener for the Lady Tigers is set for Thursday, November 4 versus Itawamba Community College.