Local college notebook: JUCO products key to Hornet women’s hoops turnaround

Janasia Law is one of seven Hornet women JUCO products. Delaware State News file photo

DOVER — When Dave Caputo set out to rebuild the Delaware State women’s basketball program, he turned to junior colleges.

The Hornets have seven junior college products on their roster out of 12 active players.

Their top two scorers, Sharajah Collins and Lyric Turner, both went to junior college before enrolling at DelState. Starting point guard Janasia Law is another junior college product.

“JUCO players are the ones who know how to stick together and fight through fatigue or fight through adversity,” Turner said. “We know the grind. Coach instills that in us and he pushes us to do better.”

Thanks to that experience, the Hornets are in contention for one of the top spots in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. They enter today’s home contest against Coppin State (4 p.m.) with a 3-2 conference record and are 7-11 overall.

Those seven wins already equal last year’s total.

Collins, in her first year at Delaware State, is sixth in the MEAC, averaging 13.3 points per game. She finished her JUCO career at Florida’s Hillsborough Community College a year ago, where she led her conference in scoring.

Turner also is in her debut season as a Hornet, averaging 11.8 points per game. She previously played two years at Chipola Community College in Texas.

She said it was easy to build chemistry with her new team at Delaware State since a lot of the players came from similar backgrounds.

“Everybody knows their role and what it takes to win,” Turner said. “We all came from really good JUCO schools and the coaches believed in us that we could play at the Division I level.”

Law, Zoe Holmes, Demaurea Moore, Melissa Sam and Miajah Bullock are also in their first season with the Hornets after finishing their junior college careers.

Law has stepped up her play since the MEAC portion of the schedule began. She went from averaging five points a game to averaging 8.5.

“It’s the Janasia Law that I saw at the junior college level,” Caputo said. “I knew she could score it.”

Darling is Hens’ iron man

Even before he’d played a minute for Delaware, Nate Darling knew he’d be playing a lot of minutes for the Blue Hens.

The junior guard, in his first season playing for UD after transferring from UAB two years ago, had a pretty good idea he wouldn’t be leaving the court very much.

“I knew coming into this season I’d be playing high, high minutes,” said Darling. “I made it a point this summer to get extra cardio in and work on my conditioning so later in the game my shot can still fall. That’s probably the biggest thing — your legs, over time, start to go.”

So far, Darling has shown he can handle the workload. Only two other players nationally in NCAA Division I are averaging more than Darling’s 38.2 minutes per game.

But coach Martin Ingelsby, whose Delaware squad (5-4 CAA, 15-7) takes a three-game winning streak into today’s 2 p.m. home game against rival Drexel (5-4 CAA, 12-10 overall), has always believed in sticking with his starters as much as possible.

Besides Darling, three of the Hens’ other starters — Kevin Anderson, Ryan Allen and Justyn Mutts — are all averaging over 31 minutes per game.

Darling, who is also Delaware’s leading scorer at 19.7 ppg, says playing a lot isn’t that big a deal.

“I’m just out there playing,” he said. “I’m kind of used to it now. My legs might get tired every now and then but I’m in great shape.

“I don’t have a really high jump shot so it doesn’t really effect my shot that much. I told Coach, ‘We’re good.’”

Notes

• It was an up-and-down week for the Wesley College men’s basketball team, which fell to last-place Cabrini but then knocked off AEC-leader Gwynedd-Mercy on Wednesday. That leaves the Wolverines (5-1 AEC, 11-8 overall) in first place going into today’s 5 p.m. conference game at Marymount (4-2 AEC, 11-8).

• Wesley quarterback Jon Mullin signed a contract to play professionally for the Bialystok Lowlanders in Poland.

“It’s another great opportunity to play the game I love,” said Mullin, who was a senior last fall. “I have played football since I was six years old to now being 21 — that’s 15 years and I just want to keep going and keep improving.”

• Milford High grad Nia Bowe, a junior outfielder for the Coppin State softball team, was a first-team preseason All-MEAC pick. She enters the season with 14 career homeruns.

From Delaware State, senior second baseman Jasmine Melgoza was named to the All-MEAC first team. Hornet senior shortstop Jordan Casey and sophomore third baseman Jade King were second-team selections.

• Former Delaware defensive back Tenny Adewusi has earned a spot with the XFL’s Dallas Renegades. He spent time in the New York Giants’ training camp last summer.

• DelState’s senior guard Lanayjha Ashe needs 13 points to reach 1,000 points for her DSU career.

• Despite the cold temperatures, Delaware is playing lacrosse this weekend. The men’s team had a scrimmage at Denver on Friday while the women scrimmage Brown at UConn today.

The men open their season at home against Mount St. Mary’s at noon next Saturday and the women open the following weekend at Rutgers.

• Cape Henlopen High product Randy Rickards has started 16 of 21 games for the Miami Dade College men’s basketball team. Rickards is averaging 11 points per game.

• Dover High grad Jordan Allen, who started his college basketball career at Rider before transferring to Lynn, netted his 1,000th point a few weeks ago. The junior guard now has 1,032 points as a college player.