Charlotte, NC -- When JWU Women's Head Basketball Coach John Jordan was hired in late March to start the JWU women's basketball program, he knew it would be tough to recruit a competitive team to enroll by the fall term. However, he has been pleasantly surprised with how his inaugural team is developing. "If you had told me we would be 3-2 going into the Thanksgiving break back in September when school started, I would have thought you were nuts," said Jordan. The Lady Cats roster features fourteen players, and only one of them (Donyelle Stuetley) has any intercollegiate basketball playing experience. Four of the girls participated in the JWU club program last season, one was a college team manager, and the rest are freshmen with no experience outside of playing in high school.
In their inaugural game, JWU came very close to knocking off St. Andrews University, an NAIA program who offers athletic scholarships and came into the game 2-0. The Lady Knights roster features six junior college transfers. "I knew we would be more competitive with them than people would expect, but honestly I was as shocked as everyone else when we he held the lead much of the game," said Coach Jordan. "I mean our youngsters were staying with a squad basket-for-basket that consisted of mostly upperclassmen with two or more years of college playing experience. In fact, I feel like I cost them the game because I put my center back in the game too soon with four fouls." The Lady Cats lost the game by seven points, but they had it as close as four points with a minute to go. The momentum of that game proved to be a catalyst that would propel JWU to go on a three-game winning streak over well-established USCAA programs as they defeated St Joseph's of Vermont and Penn State Fayette on back-to-back nights. Jordan was especially proud of the Penn State Fayette win as that represented the third game in three nights for JWU, and it was a victory in overtime. This past Saturday, the young Lady Cats rolled over Mid-Atlantic Christian University 80-62. Then less than twenty-four hours later, they had to face CIAA and NCAA Division II power, Livingstone College in Salisbury. That contest was a bit of a reality check as JWU could not handle the size, speed, and depth that Livingstone put on the floor from a roster that featured three NCAA Division I transfers. JWU fell 100–60 and suffered their first double digit loss of the season.
The Livingstone loss did nothing to put a damper on how Coach Jordan feels his team is progressing. "This is a process our girls are going through. We play some very competitive programs, many who offer athletic scholarships and play in higher divisions than us. It will take our youngsters a bit of time to learn to compete against teams on that level. It will come though. I could even see the improvement from the first half to the second half of the Livingstone game. We only scored twenty-four points in the initial period but put up thirty-six second half points. The thing I am excited about at this point of the season is we have proven we are more than competitive in our own league at the USCAA Division II level. We are 3-0 against those teams and are top 10 nationally in many of the leagues statistical categories including scoring, rebounding and getting to the free throw line. I feel if we can muster enough wins to gain a berth to the USCAA National Championship Tournament in March, we could make some noise." The Lady Wildcats are on a break from basketball for exams and Thanksgiving but will continue their on court education December 1st when they face Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC. Game time is 6:30 PM.