Humes replaces size with power

Lance Lysowski

Women’s basketball

Junior guard anchor of backcourt

Junior guard anchor of backcourt

A 5-foot-8 guard is not expected to drive to the net, taking on the opposition’s biggest defenders in the process.

Junior guard Jamilah Humes does just that, and much more.

Humes regularly crashes the paint, and does it effectively. The junior guard is averaging 13.2 points per game and said that a simple drill in practice polishes her ability to go to the hole when the defense least expects it.

“In practices, whenever we go into the hole we have to go through pads,” Humes said. “They hit us with the pads so I always concentrate on making contact with the player, and finishing.”

Humes orchestrates the Flashes’ backcourt, which ranks fourth in the Mid-American Conference in scoring margin and fourth in field goal percentage. But just two years ago, Humes was forced to receive a redshirt for legal reasons.

The year away from the hardwood was tough for the junior guard, but Humes said the incident is far behind her and she is finally able to move on.

“I don’t really know how to explain it,” Humes said. “Last year, it was really more about getting back into the flow of things and getting reconnected with team play. I was always with the team, but actually playing in game situations with them. This year, it’s more of okay I got that out of the way. Now I can get back to being productive for my team.”

Ranking 15th in points, fifth in assists and fourth in steals in the MAC, Humes’ game is diverse. Although she excels in every facet of the game, the junior guard said there is always an aspect of her play that needs work.

“It is mostly about being under control, and playing smart,” Humes said. “There are some games where I have more turnovers than assists. Really keep working with the coaches, and concentrating on working on things I know I’m good at. Also working on the things I’m not good at, and there’s a lot. There’s always something different every year.”

Humes said that before the season, she dedicated herself to developing her shooting; not only from mid-range but from three-point range as well.

Last season, Humes shot 26.7 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three-point range. Hard work Has paid off for the junior, as her field goal percentage rose to 44 percent and 43.5 percent from behind the arc.

The improvement was evident on Jan. 30, when Humes dropped 33 points against Northern Illinois on 11-of-18 shooting. She also added nine rebounds and two assists, but the Saginaw, Mich. native, said that the career performance was a result of several factors.

“To be honest, I did not know I had that many points,” Humes said. “It really just went with the flow of the game. A lot of the points got put on me too because (junior forward Taisja Jones) was in foul trouble. We usually split that but it really went to me. I really kept shooting until they stopped me, but they didn’t.”

The Flashes have won eight of their last nine games, and sit at second in the MAC East Division. Humes said she believes the team has a serious chance at winning the conference, but the team needs to work on one aspect of their game — defense.

“We have to make a really good defensive effort in these last couple of games because we can score,” Humes said. “That’s not a problem, but we can’t keep giving up those 3-point shots. We give up a lot of three-point shots, and we need to defend. We need to hold opponents to at least 60 points a game. We can’t let them do that because that lessens our chances of winning.”

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].