BRENHAM, Texas —
According to sophomore Deja Adrian, the Blinn College women’s basketball team has one expectation this season.
“The expectation is to win … to win, win, win, win,” the third-year forward said. “And this year, from the looks of our team, that’s the right expectation to have.”
After back-to-back runner-up finishes in Region XIV, the Buccaneers are aiming high this year with their sights set on a region crown and a trip to the national tournament.
“What makes this team strong is we all have the same goal,” Adrian added. “Yeah, we got second in the region last year but that’s not enough. Why settle there? We’ve got to keep going.”
Blinn, under 20th-year head coach Jeff Jenkins, is looking to build off an 18-win spring campaign in early 2021 in which the Bucs posted a 13-3 region mark and reached the semifinal round of the regional tournament. Jenkins returns a small group of returners from last season, including Adrian, but has fortified his team with a solid freshman class and a handful of transfer athletes.
“The last two years we’re 43-13 and finished second both years in our region, and when you finish second in this region it’s a pretty good year,” Jenkins said before turning his focus to the new year. “When I watch these girls in practice and when I watch them in our scrimmages, I think we have a chance this year.
“You can guarantee wins and whether or not you’re going to hit shots, but in terms of depth and talent, this is as much as we’ve had here during our good seasons.”
Jenkins will continue to deploy a man-to-man defense he hopes will create opportunities for an up-tempo, baseline-to-baseline offense loaded with capable scorers.
Adrian is back after recording 7.5 points per game and a team-best 7.2 rebounds last season. Joining her as experienced Buccaneers are forward Chynell Mitchell (3.5 points and six rebounds per game) and guard Telisha Brown (10 points, 4.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds).
A trio of transfers in guard Allana Thompson and forward Tiffany Tullis (both from Prairie View A&M) as well as guard Makayla Patterson (North American University) also bring some experience to the court for Jenkins.
New to the program this year will be freshmen Skylar Barnes (guard), Shayla Dede (guard), Amillion Fowler (forward), Kaidance Glenn (guard), Hannah Humphrey (guard), Tianna Mathis (guard) and Desiree Rogers (forward). Redshirt-freshman returning also include guards Jakoriah Long and Summer Scott.
Mitchell said a quick analysis of the team around her revealed a ballclub with an excessive amount of grit she believes will be necessary to reach greater heights this year.
“We’ve got a nice mix,” Mitchell said of this season’s squad. “We have a lot of good parts to our team … a lot of essential things that bring our team together and make us a team.
“We have dog in us and that’s what really helps us -- the dog that we have. And even though we are a smaller team compared to some of the other teams in our region, the dog we can bring to the table is what can bring us to the next level.”
The Buccaneers begin their regular season on the road at Ranger College at 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1. Their first home contest brings Western Texas College to the Kruse Center at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6. Blinn will open region play on the road against Panola College at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
Trinity Valley captured the region championship last season with a 13-2 record, while Tyler and Blinn tied for second. Jenkins believes the region will again be among the toughest in the country this season and said his team is prepared for a dogfight to the finish.
“What I’ve heard from Division I coaches who have gone through and watched everyone practice is that this is as talented as our league has ever been from top to bottom,” Jenkins said. “I know Trinity Valley, Tyler, Panola and Angelina have a lot of sophomores and some Division I transfers from some major programs.
“So I just know it’s going to be a tough game for us every night out and that’s good for us … you want to see your team compete against good players to challenge them and or you to improve along the way.”