Taisja Jones thrives at Kent State after transferring from junior college

Matt Lofgren

Using an explosive ability to get to the basket, Kent State’s Taisja Jones is more than just one of the most prolific scorers for the women’s basketball team — she’s the sport’s biggest fan.

The long-time Lakers fan is never hesitant to spend her time off the court watching the pros. A big time Kobe Bryant fan, Jones loves the Lakers. She even chose her No. 32 after Magic Johnson.

Jones is a part of a starting five that includes all seniors, making the Flashes a very experienced team.

“I just want to do better than I’ve ever done before and have my senior year be the best year I’ve ever had because I’m not sure if I want to play after this year,” Jones said. “Honestly, I love playing with the other seniors. I feel like the more experience on the court the better, and I feel like we have a good connection as a senior class.”

Before her time at Kent State, Jones played basketball at Grayson County Junior College in Denison, Texas.

There, Jones was named a first-team All-American for junior college. Along with the honor, Jones recalled her proudest moment at junior college is dropping 40 points on an opponent.

Coming close to her 40-point performance, Jones carried Kent State to a crucial overtime victory over MAC West opponent Northern Illinois, in which she scored 36 points. Her points that night ranged from all over the floor, including sinking three big 3-pointers.

Jones first started playing basketball when she was in sixth grade, and never looked back. In high school, Jones was on the varsity team in her freshman season, and her success in the sport would follow shortly after.

“In high school, after I started on varsity, the summer after my coach worked with me on my first step to the basket,” Jones said. “After that I figured I was good enough to play at the college level.”

One thing that has always inspired Jones to play basketball is her music. Before every game, Jones has a ritual of listening to her favorite music. Usually, she listens to Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne or Rick Ross.

If the team wins that night, Jones is a little superstitious and listens to the same song before the next game.

With the Flashes suffering their first home loss of the season, Jones knows how important it is for the team to buckle down for the rest of the season.

“We need to start playing better together as a team,” Jones said. “We need to get more people to score and not be so careless with the ball. We really need to value our possessions more and not give the ball away.”

Kent State committed 29 turnovers in their last game against Eastern Michigan. Over the last few games, the Flashes have struggled to shoot their season average of 42 percent from the field, which has really affected point totals.

Although Kent State’s offense has struggled, Jones has been able to consistently post solid numbers. Her points-per-game totals have jumped from 14.7 to 16.2 in just 3 games.

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Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected].