Jones received a “full ride” scholarship according to her mother Nicole Jones and is expected to play right away as a freshman.
“I think it was a good school for her,” said Nicole. “She has an enthusiasm for the game that is sometimes mistaken for attitude and the coaches at Texas Southern are a good mix and will help her go to the next level.”
Jones said she chose TSU because it is a place she “feels she can adapt to.” She turned down offers from Auburn and Miami to attend Texas Southern.
Jones has been a consistent offensive threat over the past two seasons with Lithia Springs. In 2011, she was named co-DCS All-County Player of the Year along with Douglas County’s Christin Mercer by averaging a county high 18.8 points per game.. She scored a career-high and school record 42 points against Kell in one game.
This season, Jones has gotten even better. She is averaging 20.2 points per game and has also picked up her play on the defensive side of the ball. Against one region opponent, she dropped 28 points in the first half.
“She is constantly giving us an offensive threat every night,” said LSHS coach David Mills. “She has also progressed defensively, especially defensive rebounding.”
Jones added that playing for Lithia Springs has been tough, especially by not playing there her sophomore year.
“It was good to comeback,” she added. “Playing for [Mills] can be fun at times and he is a very outgoing person. He can frustrate you and push you to the limit, but at the end of the day he is making you a better player.”
Jones’ love of the game is shown in her dedication to play the sport year round. When not suiting up for Lithia, she plays AAU ball. Last year, the former Pensacola, Fla. native competed with the Georgia Pistols. This past season, she played for the Atlanta Celtics, which is where she was spotted by the coach from Texas Southern at a tournament in Louisiana.
Jones says that she has loved every minute of playing for her AAU team under coach Renardo Hudson. “You can never get mad at him,” she said. “He can yell and get in your face but you knew he was right and he could make you look like a D-1 player. He made it fun.”
After TSU coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke saw her at the tourney, she got in touch with the AAU coach and eventually talked to Jones over the phone and convinced her to come down for a visit in September.
During the visit, the coach talked to Jones not as a coach but has a fellow “hooper” according to the Lithia senior.
“She talked about the way I played, how she would play me, and how she could make me better,” Jones said.
It was this conversation that helped Jones decide to put her name on the dotted line and play ball at Texas Southern.
TSU plays in the Southwest Athletic Conference and is currently 3-7 this season. This is Cooper-Dyke’s first season as head coach of Texas Southern. Previously she had coached at UNC-Wilmington, where she led the Seahawks to two of the schools most successful seasons.
Cooper-Dyke is a former college standout and two time National Champion. She captured an Olympic gold medal on the US Women’s basketball team in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics, and she won four consecutive WNBA Championships and was named Finals MVP each time. She won the leagues overall MVP award in 1997 and ’98. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and into the National Hall of Fame in 2010.