Women’s basketball at Tyler Junior College takes pride in a winning tradition. However, last year the team finished the season 9-21 including 2-11 in conference play.Some may wonder how the Apache Ladies will play heading into the season and if they are going to continue their success.At this point, there’s no more wondering. As of Jan. 21, the Apache Ladies were carrying a 16-4 overall record including a 5-2 record in conference play. They were coming off two conference home wins against San Jacinto and Lon Morris. Team chemistry has seemed to be a deciding factor in separating this team from last year’s team. “This year there is more team chemistry and knowledge of the basic history of TJC women’s basketball,” TJC Head Coach Trenia Jones said. “It’s been fun to see the players progress and it is always good to see them grow as people.” Likewise, Assistant Coach Trisha Lyons believes overall that team chemistry is bringing this team success and that communication and encouragement builds chemistry. “Communication and encouragement are key factors in our team’s success. If they don’t communicate or encourage one another, then they can’t work together.” Lyons said. “Team chemistry has improved because each player has a role to play and each player knows their exact role.” Sophomore guard CeMonay Newell, who is from Chicago, Ill., is one of the leading scorers on the team. She is averaging 10.4 points a game. Her play from the guard position and her ability to create her own shot off the dribble as well as shoot three-pointers opens things for other teammates, especially down low with the post players.Newell is one player that has definitely seen the transition this team has made from last season to get to where they are so far this season. “We had talent last year but we are trying to make it work this year and everyone is doing their part,” Newell said. “I really don’t feel like a leader this year but I feel like my role is easier than last year and more is expected of me.” On the other hand, there is still business to be taken care of this season and goals to be reached. “We want to have fun, win games, and get to the national tournament,” Newell said. Coach Jones has strong drive and a very positive mindset for her players. For instance, “They can go as far this season as they want to go and as long as they give it their all, I’m happy.”

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