Nov. 10, 2000
The UAB women's basketball team, coming off an NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16" appearance and with one of the top players in the nation in Deanna Jackson, gets their season started with their first exhibition match, Sunday afternoon at 2:00 against the Atlanta Shooters in Bartow Arena.
The Lady Blazers were 21-13 last year and return three starters. Jackson was named last week as Confernce USA's preseason Player of the Year. She has also been named as one of 30 candidates for the Naismith Award and ESPN.com named her as one of the top five fowards in the country. The 6-2 junior, averaged 19 points and led C-USA with 11.7 rebounds per game. She led the nation with 27 double-double games in points and rebounds.
"Our practices have been very intense," Lady Blazer coach Jeannie Milling said. "Our new players have been learning fast, which is key, because we will be counting on them to contribute early this year."
In addition to Jackson, UAB returns forward Mia Thrash, who averaged 11.2 points per game last year. C-USA Freshman of the Year, center Michelle Smith, also returns, but is out until December or January after having surgery on a stress fracture in her leg.
Shaquetta Rhodes will replace Smith in the lineup. Rhodes hit the game winning shot against Oregon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. She played in 26 games last year, averaging 2.5 points and 2.6 rebounds.
The guard spot is where Milling had the most concerns entering into fall practice. The Lady Blazers lost Felicia Jackson and Holly Holland, who combined to average 20.4 points and made 90 three-point shots last season.
"We have some different ways we can go at guard. We have experience in Brandi Stallings, and Sally Jeter, and we've got some exciting new players like Vanessa White and (junior college tranfer) Lakeshia Broussard."
Jeter started 12 games at point guard before missing the remainder of the season with injury. Stallings played in 29 games and averaged 3.1 points per game. "Sally and Brandi's experience shows, but Lakeshia is getting more and more command of the point guard spot every day. It looks like she'll contribute a lot."
Former UAB guard Syronda Mifflin returns to Bartow Arena as part of the Shooters. She was the Great Midwest Conference Player of the Year in 1994 for the Lady Blazers.
UAB 's first regular season game will be Nov. 17, on the road in Reno, Nevada in the first round of the Nevada Bell Tournament. The Lady Blazers will face the host Nevada in the first round. Idaho and Colorado State are the other participants in the Tournament.