JUCO transfer averages 14.3 ppg
Before the season tipped off, Kent State coach Bob Lindsay was in a tough position. The Flashes lost last season’s leading scorer Anna Kowalska, and Lindsay knew finding a player to fill the void was going to be a challenge.
After scoring at least 20 points seven times so far this season, junior forward Taisja Jones has done just that.
A junior college transfer from Grayson County Junior College, Jones combines quickness with a knack for driving to the basket against defenders.
“The sky is the limit for a kid like her,” Lindsay said. “She has to be a good student of the game, and she’s got to be willing to do some of the things she’s got to do to get better.”
Just a season ago, Jones was turning heads in junior college by averaging 22 points per game and claiming a spot on the junior college All-American team.
Despite her success last season, it’s safe to say that nobody expected Jones’ sudden emergence except for two people — Lindsay and Jones.
Before the season began, Lindsay said Jones had the potential to earn a permanent spot in the starting five while Jones knew she was capable of playing but the wait was a test in itself.
“I was literally dying at first,” Jones said. “Luckily my teammates and my coaches kept me up. A lot was just keeping courage in me.”
After playing just 12 minutes in the team’s season opener, Jones’ playing time has steadily increased, along with her offensive production. In seven of the team’s last 11 games, Jones has scored at least 20 points while leading the Flashes with an average of 14.3 points per game.
Jones laughed when describing her experience during the beginning of the season. The junior forward said she simply wanted an opportunity to show what she could do.
“The first couple of games I was just like, ‘I hope I get a couple minutes in,’” she said. “But now I need to be out there. I need a couple minutes rest.”
Lindsay will look for Jones to provide consistent offensive output down the stretch, but the tenured coach believes the team’s leading scorer still has plenty of room for improvement.
“Taisja is a really talented player,” Lindsay said. “She’s got a lot to learn about the mental part of the game; about how to play hard for longer periods of time, and playing with a stronger effort on the defensive end of the court.”
Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected]