Lady Jets move up to 19th in NJCAA national poll
The South Georgia Technical College Lady Jets cracked the top 20 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national rankings this week by moving up two spots into 19th place in the nation following impressive wins over Spartanburg Methodist and Florida State College during the Lady Jets Thanksgiving Classic in Americus this past weekend.
The Lady Jets defeated Spartanburg Methodist 77 – 57 in their opening game of the tournament and then closed out the tournament with a 70 – 43 win over Florida State College of Jacksonville on Saturday. The Lady Jets are 9 – 1 overall and 4 -0 in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association. They have currently put together a seven game winning streak and will travel to Albany to play Albany Technical College on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Albany State University gymnasium.
The Lady Jets were ranked 24th in the pre-season national poll, then moved up three spots into 21st place prior to the Thanksgiving break. The two wins over the weekend allow the Lady Jets to move to 19th. South Georgia Technical College is the only Georgia college currently ranked in the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball National rankings.
The Lady Jets have been to the NJCAA Women’s National Basketball Tournament in Lubbock, Texas for the past three years and five times in the past six years under head coach James Frey. They went to the national tournament once under former head coach Brandon Harrell.
The top seven teams in the NJCAA national rankings all kept their spots this week. Gulf Coast is currently ranked first in the nation with a 7 – 0 record. They are followed by South Plains and Trinity Valley, both of Texas with 10 – 0 records and Northwest Florida State with a 9 – 0 record. Shelton State from Alabama is currently 5th with a 7 – 0 record. Central Arizona is in 6th place at 7 – 1 and they are followed by Chipola and Hutchinson, KS with identical 9 – 1 record. Tyler Texas is in ninth place with an 8 – 2 record and Western Nebraska is in 10th at 9 – 1 overall.
Wabash Valley, IL; Jones, MS; Florida SouthWestern State, Seward County, KS; Casper, WY; Northern Oklahoma Enid; and Midland, TX; are currently ranked 11th – 18th this week. Grayson, Pensacola State, Odessa, Redlands, Wallace State and Cochise closed out the top 25 rankings behind South Georgia Technical College.
“It is good to be moving up,” said South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey. “We need to keep getting better. We have a conference game against Albany Tech in Albany on Wednesday at 5:30 and then we travel to Swainsboro for another conference game against East Georgia on Saturday, December 7th at 1 p.m. East Georgia is currently in second place in the GCAA with a 3 – 0 conference record and are 4 – 1 overall.”
After those two conference games, the Lady Jets travel to Phoenix City to match up with Chattahoochee Valley Community College on December 10th and then travel to Wilmington, NC on December 16th and 17th for the Cape Fear Classic Tournament with Cape Fear Community College and Lackawanna College.
“Right now we are letting a lot of players play. We are going to need everyone down the stretch and the more playing time we can give them, the better we will be when the tournament rounds around,” said Frey. “We have had several injuries so far this season so I am looking forward to getting everyone well.”
Even though Coach Frey is giving everyone lots of playing time, the Lady Jets have a number of talented players this season including four returning players plus two transfer sophomores and six freshmen. One of those freshmen has already begun to make a name for herself on the national stage.
Freshman center Femme Sikuzani from Goma, DRC, is currently one of five Lady Jets who are ranked nationally for their performances on the court. Femme Sikuzani, 6’ 5”, dropped from 10th to 11th in the NJCAA in rebounds per game. She is averaging 12.6 per game over the past 10 games this season. She is currently listed as 14th in the nation in offensive rebounds with an average of 5.4 per game and 18th in the nation in defensive rebounds with 7.2 per outing. She has a total of 124 rebounds this season which has her at 9thth in the nation in total rebounds. And she moved up 12 spots in her field goal percentage shooting. She is currently ranked 36th overall with a 58.4 percent success rate on her shots.
Four other members of the Lady Jets continued to garner national attention for their aggressive offensive and defensive skills. Sophomore transfer Shamari Tyson, who transferred in from Southeastern Illinois College, this season dropped from 8th to 9th place in the nation in assists per game with an average of 6.2. Another sophomore transfer, Niya Goudelock from Limestone University, is currently 48th in the nation with an average of 4.4 assists per outing. She was ranked 39th last week with an average of 4.6.
Returning sophomore Anna McKendree from Flowery Branch, GA, suffered an ankle injury but she is still ranked nationally in steals per game with an average of 3.5. She moved up into the 21st spot from 23rd in the nation.
Sophomore Yasriyyah Wazeerund-Din broke into the NJCAA individual stats this week in three-point field goal percentage shooting. She is currently ranked 46th in the nation in three-point shooting hitting 45.2% of her attempts.