Women's Basketball 2011-12 Season News

Aaron Holland named new Lady Bucks head basketball coach

July 25, 2012

Motlow College recently announced that Aaron Holland has been hired as the new head basketball coach of the Lady Bucks. Holland comes to Motlow after serving in various capacities for the last five years with Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark.

Motlow College Photo
Aaron Holland. Motlow College photo.
Athletic director and men's head coach Jerry Nichols served as the interim head coach of the Lady Bucks during the 2011-12 season, guiding them to an 11-13 record and a sixth-place finish in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association standings.

"We are very excited to have Aaron join the coaching family here at Motlow," said Nichols. "He has served under outstanding head coaches and he has a proven ability to communicate well with student athletes and to teach basketball. His knowledge of the game and his experience at developing talent give him the tools to be a successful coach."

Holland played basketball in high school with his eye on becoming a Division I college player, but when that opportunity did not materialize he set his sights on coaching instead.

"I played basketball all the time while I was growing up," said Holland, "Although I really wanted to play at a high level, God didn't grant me those physical gifts. So I became a student manager and I got involved in college basketball first as a manager.

"I heard about the Motlow job from one of our assistant coaches at Arkansas State. He told me that Motlow was beginning its search for a women's basketball coach and I realized that this was a great opportunity for me to advance in coaching and run my own program.

"Coaches have a chance to positively influence the lives of young people, and in some cases to change their life forever," added Holland. "My biggest role models growing up were my two high school basketball coaches. They influenced me, from my work ethic to how I live my daily life. I look forward to the opportunity to have an impact on my players in the same way."

Holland has worked under two head coaches with Final Four experience. John Brady led LSU in 2006 and Richard Williams took Mississippi State in 1996. Aaron worked closely with both of them and says they taught him a lot about what to do and what not to do.

"I tried to soak up everything they said," he added. "At Arkansas State I was the Director of Player Development but I had my hands in many different areas, including breaking down video and working with our student-athletes to make sure they were in good academic standing."

Moving to a new area has its challenges, but Holland says the transition has been made easier by help from both his new Motlow family and the people of this area in general.

"I am really enjoying the Motlow community and the surrounding area, but I'm still trying to learn which way is Lynchburg and which is Tullahoma," he laughed. "Slowly but surely I'm learning my way around. Everybody has been really nice and helpful to me and it seems like Motlow has really good fan support."

Ultimately, much of a coaches' success is deemed by wins and losses, and Holland knows that his challenge will be to rebuild a Lady Bucks program that has not contended for a state championship since 2006.

"I'm spending most of my time right now recruiting. I came into this a little late in the recruiting season, so right now I'm just trying to meet as many players as I can because I have a roster to fill. Next year I will be much more ahead of the curve when it comes to recruiting."

Registration opens for Motlow Elite/Skills Basketball camp

May 29, 2012

Print registration form

Registration has begun for the 2012 Motlow College Elite/Skills Basketball Camp, scheduled to be held from June 18-20 at Copperweld Arena on the Moore County campus, according to Motlow head men's basketball coach Jerry Nichols.

Registration forms can be printed from here and mailed to Coach Nichols, or can be picked up at the Motlow basketball office inside Nisbett Center. For further information, contact the basketball office at 931.393.1620 or email Coach Nichols at [email protected].

The camp will be held from 9 a.m. until noon all three days and is designed for boys and girls ages 6-14. The cost is $50 per person, although discounts are available for families with multiple campers and for teams with eight or more players.

The curriculum is designed to be fun and challenging with an emphasis on basic basketball skills, fundamentals, and teamwork. The camp is designed to prepare players interested in playing at the high school and collegiate level.

Coach Nichols and his staff, along with Motlow basketball players, will instruct campers on ball handling, passing, shooting, rebounding, defense, and other specific basketball fundamentals. Space is limited, so campers are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

Lady Bucks Basketball on the Rise

March 13, 2012

When Jerry Nichols was named interim head coach of the Motlow Lady Bucks in mid August, prospects for any reasonable success during the 2011-12 season seemed slim. Although there were six sophomores with experience returning from the previous season, there was no recruiting class and the returning players had not played a style that even remotely resembled Nichols' up-tempo game.

On paper it appeared the Lady Bucks would struggle to stay out of the bottom portion of the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) standings.

Games aren't played on paper though, and between August and the season opener in early November Nichols added seven new players and began the process of teaching his brand of hoops to a group that was eager to learn and willing to work.

"This group has really bought into the way I like my teams to play," said Nichols at media day back in August. "They want to learn and they want to win and they have put in the work during the preseason to give themselves a chance to win."

From the season-opening game against defending Alabama state champion Wallace State, a 63-59 loss at Copperweld Arena, it was obvious the Lady Bucks would not only be competitive against solid competition but would have a chance to beat some quality opponents.

The first conference win came on the road in overtime when Motlow outlasted Jackson State 84-79 behind sophomore Callisha Johnson's 26 points and 10 rebounds.

The highlight of the season was Dec. 2 at Copperweld Arena when the Lady Bucks beat defending TCCAA champion Chattanooga State 61-58 behind sophomore Paige Malone's 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists. They followed that win the next day by trouncing visiting Cleveland State 67-44.

However, that successful weekend was not the only highlight for the Lady Bucks. They hosted nationally-ranked Southwest Tennessee on Jan. 20 and beat the Lady Saluqis 69-67, then turned around the following day and beat Dyersburg State 63-59.

Johnson emerged as the leading scorer for the Lady Bucks, averaging almost 12 points per game, while sophomore Jennifer Maynard became eligible after the holiday break and averaged 11.3 points per game. Johnson also averaged 3.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.4 steals with 14 blocked shots.

Fellow sophomores Emily Rivers, Jayme Jackson, Katie Lipham, Tiara Willingham, and Ashley Davis each had moments during the season when they provided a spark or a big shot that helped the Lady Bucks either win a game or stay close to an opponent. Rivers was especially consistent, averaging over seven points and four rebounds per contest.

The freshman class of Calvesha Flowers, Presley Owen, Lekera Taylor, Alexxus Sturkey, and Danielle Ervin took to Nichols' style and flourished. Taylor led the Lady Bucks in rebounding, averaging 4.5 boards per game, while Sturkey averaged 1.5 steals per game. All have the potential to be key ingredients for the Lady Bucks in 2012-13.

Although the season ended with a disappointing 64-44 loss to Chattanooga State in the second round of the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament, the final overall record of 11-13 and conference mark of 8-10 was the best the Lady Bucks have finished during the last four years. This is a program that is on the rise.

Lady Bucks draw defending champions in Region VII Tournament opener

March 5, 2012

The Motlow Lady Bucks will face defending state champion Chattanooga State in the opening round of the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament on Thursday, Mar. 8 at 8 p.m. at Jackson State Community College in Jackson.

2012 Women's Tournament Bracket

The Lady Bucks (11-12, 8-10) are the tournament's sixth seed, while the Lady Tigers (20-5, 13-5) will begin their title defense as the third seed. All Motlow tournament games can be heard live on WHMT radio (105.1 FM, 740 AM, TullahomaRadio.com, and LightTUBe channel 11).

The tournament opens on Tuesday with a pair of 'play-in' games, which will determine the two teams that advance into the eight-team tournament. Roane State and the host team Jackson State square off at 6 p.m. and Cleveland and Dyersburg will play at 8 p.m.

Walters State (24-2, 17-1) is ranked 10th in the nation and enters the tournament as the top seed and the clear-cut favorite. Walters will face the Roane/Jackson winner, while second-seed Columbia State will face the Cleveland/Dyersburg winner.

The Lady Bucks and the Lady Tigers split a pair of contests this season, with each winning on its home court. The Bucks beat Chattanooga 61-58 on Dec. 2, 2011, but the Lady Tigers returned the favor by downing Motlow 86-65 on Feb. 3 in Chattanooga.

Motlow is led offensively by sophomores Callisha Johnson and Jennifer Maynard, who average 11.7 and 10.3 points per game respectively. Chattanooga features three scorers averaging double figures, led by April Woodard and her 13.2 points per game.

Lady Bucks finish strong with rout of Jackson State

February 27, 2012

Jennifer Maynard connected on five three-point shots and scored a team-high 21 points as the Motlow Lady Bucks concluded the 2011-12 basketball regular season with a 71-49 win over Jackson State Saturday afternoon at Copperweld Arena.

Jennifer Maynard
Jennifer Maynard scored 21 points to lead the Lady Bucks past Jackson State.
The victory assures the Lady Bucks (11-12, 8-10) of the sixth seed heading into next week's TCCAA/Region VII Tournament, which begins Mar. 6 at Jackson State. The official tournament bracket will be released later this week by the TCCAA conference office and will be posted at MotlowSports.com.

Motlow trailed the Lady Generals (4-14, 7-17) only once, when the visitors connected on the first basket of the game. After that it was all Motlow in front of a large, loud crowd enjoying the final home game for the Lady Bucks' eight sophomores.

Maynard, who played two years ago for the Lady Bucks before sitting out last season, enjoyed the best shooting performance of her career. Her two early three pointers helped the Lady Bucks jump out to a 19-9 lead after 14 minutes of play.

The lead increased to 24-11 with four minutes remaining in the half before the Lady Generals settled down and closed the gap to 28-17 at halftime. Jackson State connected on 9-11 free throws in the first 20 minutes to help keep the margin within reach.

The first 150 seconds of the second half erased all doubt though as Maynard hit two more three-pointers to increase the Lady Bucks lead to 36-19. The largest lead was 65-37 with five minutes left to play, thanks to a pair of three-point shots by fellow sophomore Ashley Davis and nine late points from classmate Tiara Willingham.

Twelve different Lady Bucks scored, with Willingham adding nine points, Katie Lipham seven, Davis and Callisha Johnson six each, and Presley Owen five. The Lady Bucks overcame 22 turnovers by forcing the Lady Generals into 27 miscues.

Post player Shayna Garrett led the Lady Generals with 18 points and five rebounds. Johnson led the Lady Bucks with seven rebounds, followed by Willingham with six and Emily Rivers with five.

Columbia State Charges Past Lady Bucks

February 23, 2012

The Columbia State Lady Chargers opened the second half with a 21-2 run and never looked back on their way to a 71-57 win over the Motlow Lady Bucks at Copperweld Arena Wednesday night. The Lady Bucks (10-12, 7-10) will host Jackson State on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the final regular-season contest. Sophomore players will be honored following the women's contest.

The Lady Bucks led Columbia State (17-5, 13-4) at halftime 29-28, thanks in part to six first half three-point shots. However, after the break it was all Lady Chargers as they turned their one-point deficit into a 49-31 lead in the first six minutes of the second half.

Ashley Davis hit four three-pointers and led the Lady Bucks with 18 points and four rebounds. Jennifer Maynard hit two three-pointers and scored eight points while Presley Owen hit both her three-pointers after the intermission and scored six points. Motlow connected on 10-32 shots from behind the arc and 9-13 free throws.

Lady Bucks Take Giant Step to Avoid Tournament Play-in Contest

February 20, 2012

Although the Motlow Lady Bucks are not going to win the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) regular season championship or finish among the top seeds for the conference tournament, they still have a lot at stake when they host Columbia State on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at Copperweld Arena.

The Lady Bucks (10-11, 7-9) put themselves in excellent position to avoid a first-round 'play-in' game at the upcoming TCCAA/Region VII Tournament, scheduled to begin March 6 in Jackson, by beating Dyersburg State 62-54 Saturday afternoon in Dyersburg.

Callisha Johnson led the Lady Bucks with 12 points and Jennifer Maynard added 11 against the Lady Eagles, with both sophomores also pulling down three rebounds. The win on Saturday completed a Lady Bucks season sweep over Dyersburg State.

Columbia State (12-4, 16-5) is currently second in the conference standings and has won three consecutive games. The Lady Chargers easily handled the Lady Bucks 98-74 back in early November in Columbia.

The Lady Bucks are currently in a battle with Roane State and Jackson State for sixth place in the conference standings. The top six seeds in the tournament avoid an opening-round 'play-in' game, with the sixth seed playing the third seed in the second round.

Motlow will host Jackson State in the regular season finale on Saturday, Feb. 25, with tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m. Motlow's sophomore basketball players will be recognized between the men's and women's contest.

Lady Bucks Fall Just Short in Memphis

February 16, 2012

The Motlow Lady Bucks battled to the end Wednesday night, coming up a little short in a 75-70 defeat to the Southwest Tennessee Lady Saluqis in Memphis. The Lady Bucks will play their final regular season road game at Dyersburg State on Saturday.

The Lady Bucks hit 12 three-point shots but only 10-19 free throws. Jennifer Maynard scored 16 points and hit four three-pointers, Callisha Johnson scored 15 and Presley Owen hit three three-pointers and scored 10 points. Johnson led the team with three assists and four steals.

Three-Point Barrage Leads Lady Bucks to Homecoming Win

February 13, 2012

Flintville sophomore Ashley Davis connected on four three-point shots and Shelbyville classmate Callisha Johnson scored 20 points to lead the Motlow Lady Bucks to a 67-54 win over Roane State at Copperweld Arena Saturday afternoon.

The victory by the Lady Bucks (9-10, 6-8) came in front of a large, loud homecoming audience and helped ease the sting of a disappointing 77-38 loss to nationally-ranked Walters State Friday night. The Lady Bucks will play at Southwest Tennessee in Memphis on Wednesday, Feb. 15, with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Lady Bucks grabbed their first lead at 10-9 with 15 minutes to play in the first half. Emily Rivers hit two three-pointers while Presley Owen, Davis, and Johnson hit one each as Motlow built a 20-point lead, 37-17, with two minutes remaining before intermission. Motlow went into the break with a 40-22 lead.

Davis caught fire in the second half with her high-arching, long-range shooting, nailing three shots in the final 20 minutes behind the arc. Owen hit her second three after the break, and Johnson matched her 10 first-half points with 10 more in the final 20 minutes.

Roane State (13-13, 5-10) began closing the gap with 9:25 left to play and Motlow leading 52-41. The lead was only seven, 57-50 with four minutes remaining, before Davis nailed her final three-pointer and Johnson connected on a pair of clutch free throws.

Johnson led the Lady Bucks with 20 points on 8-13 shooting while Davis added 12. Unselfish play was the key for Motlow as 10 different players had at least one assist, led by Johnson with four. Twelve different Lady Bucks had at least one rebound, with Rivers, Johnson, and Danielle Ervin each pulling down four. Paige Malone led the Lady Bucks with three steals.

Roane State sophomore Jill Herman was the lone bright spot for the Raiderettes, scoring 25 points and pulling down seven rebounds.

Friday night against the 14th-ranked Lady Senators was a different story as Walters State (21-2, 14-1) jumped out on top 13-5 after four minutes of action and never looked back. They led 38-17 at halftime and 58-21 with 12 minutes to play.

Motlow struggled shooting the ball, connecting on only 32% of its shots and 5-24 behind the three-point line. The Lady Bucks turned the ball over 19 times while only collecting four steals.

Jayme Jackson led Motlow with nine points and hit both of her three-point attempts. Alexxus Sturkey added seven points and led the Lady Bucks with five rebounds. Malone and Johnson each had a pair of assists.

Lady Bucks Road Woes Continue

February 6, 2012

The Motlow Lady Bucks saw their recent surge towards the top of the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) standings take a significant hit when they dropped a pair of contests over the weekend in east Tennessee.

The Lady Bucks (8-9, 5-7) traveled to Chattanooga Friday night and dropped an 86-65 decision to the Chattanooga State Lady Tigers, followed by a 67-61 loss to Cleveland State Saturday afternoon in Cleveland.

Motlow will return to the friendly confines of Copperweld Arena this weekend, hosting nationally-ranked Walters State Friday night at 6 p.m., then celebrating homecoming on Saturday when Roane State visits for a 2 p.m. tipoff. Homecoming activities begin at 1 p.m. in the lobby of Nisbett Center.

Friday night in Chattanooga the Lady Bucks trailed by nine at the half 41-32, but couldn't find their shooting touch in the second half to make a comeback. Motlow connected on only 38% of its shots, although the Lady Bucks hit nine from three-point range.

Lady Bucks' sophomore Jennifer Maynard did have her shooting touch Friday, connecting on 4-6 three pointers and all four of her free-throw attempts for 20 points. Ashley Davis hit three three-point shots and scored 11 points, while Tiara Willingham had the best game of her career with 10 points and five rebounds.

Lekera Taylor led the Lady Bucks with seven rebounds, while Jayme Jackson led the team with three assists and Alexxus Sturkey had five steals.

Saturday in Cleveland the Lady Bucks jumped out to a 38-30 lead at halftime against a team they had beaten by 23 points back in early December at home. Saturday was a different story though as the Lady Cougars came from behind on their home court to get the victory.

Emily Rivers was the lone bright spot for the Lady Bucks, leading the way with 25 points on 8-12 shooting, including five three-pointers and 4-5 free throws. Sturkey added nine points, with Maynard and Callisha Johnson adding eight each.

Taylor once again did excellent work in the paint, leading the team with eight rebounds and three steals. The Lady Bucks played unselfishly, with Rivers and Jackson each dishing out four assists.

Walters State is the premier team in the TCCAA this season, currently sporting an 18-2 overall record and a ranking of 18th in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll.

Lady Bucks Can't Contain Lady Pioneers

January 30, 2012

The Motlow Lady Bucks could not contain Volunteer State post player Natasha West, who led all scorers with 25 points, as the Lady Pioneers handed the Lady Bucks a 70-50 defeat Saturday afternoon at Copperweld Arena.

The Lady Bucks (8-7, 5-5) will travel to Chattanooga State this Friday and Cleveland State on Saturday; two teams that Motlow beat back in early December at Copperweld Arena. The following weekend the Lady Bucks will host nationally-ranked Walters State on Friday, Feb. 10, with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.

Volunteer State (14-6, 6-4) jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead in the first four minutes and never looked back, with the 10-point deficit being as close as the Lady Bucks would get. The Lady Pioneers led 39-26 at halftime and extended their lead to 20 points with 15 minutes remaining in the contest.

Ashley Davis led Motlow will 11 points, including three three-pointers, with Emily Rivers adding eight points. Lekera Taylor came off the bench to grab 11 rebounds. Alexxus Sturkey had a team-high three steals, and Paige Malone dished out four assists.

Volunteer State was led in scoring by West, who did most of her damage directly underneath the basket. Lynchburg alumnus Heather Vann added seven points, while sisters Katie and Sara Bliss combined for 19 points.

The Lady Bucks shot only 28% from the field and connected on 15-26 free throws. The Lady Pioneers were 14-19 from the foul line. Motlow committed 14 turnovers while dishing out only seven assists.

Lady Bucks Sweep Conference Opponents

The Motlow Lady Bucks entered the season knowing it might take awhile for them to learn the up-tempo style of interim head coach Jerry Nichols. It appears they are getting the hang of it.

Motlow surged into the upper half of the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) standings with a pair of conference victories this past weekend in front of large, loud crowds at Copperweld Arena.

The Lady Bucks (8-6, 5-4) got 10 second-half points from both Jennifer Maynard and Callisha Johnson to upset nationally-ranked Southwest Tennessee 69-67 Friday night, and then rode a combined 27 points from those two for a gutsy 63-59 victory over Dyersburg State Saturday afternoon.

Motlow will host Volunteer State (13-5, 5-4) this Saturday, Jan. 28 at Copperweld Arena with the women's tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m. The Lady Bucks fell to the Lady Pioneers 67-59 on Nov. 19 in Gallatin.

Southwest Tennessee's Lady Saluqis (14-5, 6-3) rolled into Lynchburg Friday night looking to get back on track after falling out of the Top 20 in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll, although they remained listed among the top 30 teams in the country.

They will no longer be listed after their defeat at Motlow, which was followed on Saturday by a 77-73 loss to Volunteer State in Gallatin. Meanwhile, the Lady Bucks continued their resurgence as they improved their record at Copperweld Arena to 5-1 on the season.

Friday night's contest was a tight battle from the start, with the two teams reaching the 12-minute mark tied at 12 points apiece. Lady Bucks' sophomore Ashley Davis nailed a three-pointer to tie the score at 27-27 with four minutes remaining in the first half. Southwest entered the locker room leading 31-30 at intermission.

Sophomore Emily Rivers, who finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, hit a three-pointer to give Motlow its first lead of the second half, 54-51, with 10 minutes remaining. After Southwest Tennessee again tied the score at 56-56 with 7:45 left to play, freshman Alexxus Sturkey hit a basket to give the home team the lead for good.

Despite missing multiple free throws down the stretch, the Lady Bucks managed to hold on for the win with stellar defense and aggressive rebounding against the taller Lady Saluqis. Motlow forced the visitors into 29 turnovers while only committing 15.

Rivers and Johnson led Motlow in scoring with 14 points each, with Rivers connecting on three three-point shots. Maynard and Sturkey also scored in double digits with 12 points each. The Lady Bucks connected on 17-23 free throws and hit a total of seven three-point shots.

Southwest Tennessee was led by Erica Ousley with 15 points and Amber Dunlap with 10. The Lady Saluqis hit 13-20 shots from the charity stripe.

Saturday's game began with Rivers connecting on a three-pointer in the first 30 seconds to jump-start the Motlow offense to an 11-0 lead, which they extended to 24-11 behind three-pointers from Maynard and Johnson.

However, Dyersburg State (7-8, 2-7) settled down and managed to stay within a dozen points, 37-25, at the intermission despite 12 first-half points from Motlow's Johnson.

The second half saw Motlow struggle early from the free-throw line, allowing the Lady Eagles to slowly climb back into the game. A 9-2 run in the first six minutes closed the gap to five, 39-34, and with 2:30 showing on the game clock the visitors had pulled to within two at 57-55.

The Lady Bucks held on as Maynard and Jayme Jackson sealed the win for Motlow by connecting on critical free throws down the stretch.

Maynard led Motlow on Saturday with 14 points, including nine in the second half, and also had four rebounds and two steals. Johnson scored 13, Jackson finished with seven, and Rivers and Sturkey each scored six.

Although the Lady Bucks were out-rebounded by the much-taller Dyersburg State team, Motlow did force 21 turnovers while committing only 13. Motlow hit 18-28 free throws, with Maynard going 6-6 and Jackson 5-6. The Lady Eagles were 10-14 from the free-throw line.

Lady Bucks Roll in Second-Half Debut

The Motlow Lady Bucks began the second half of their season in grand fashion with a 73-38 win over West Georgia Tech on Tuesday, Jan. 17 in Oxford, Georgia. The Lady Bucks host Southwest Tennessee on Friday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. at Copperweld Arena.

Callisha Johnson led a balanced Motlow attack with 15 points and seven rebounds. Jennifer Maynard made her Lady Bucks debut by scoring 10 points and grabbing two steals. Emily Rivers and Alexxus Sturkey also scored 10 points. Jayme Jackson and Paige Malone had five assists each, while Presley Owen, Lekera Taylor, and Calvesha Flowers each pulled down six rebounds.

Lady Bucks Have High Seed in Sight

With seven of their remaining eleven conference games scheduled to be played at Copperweld Arena, the Motlow Lady Bucks have an opportunity to be one of the top seeds when the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) tournament begins in early March at Jackson State in Jackson.

Following an extended holiday break of over five weeks without a game, the Lady Bucks (5-6, 3-4) will resume action when they travel to non-conference opponent West Georgia Tech in Oxford, Georgia on Tuesday, Jan. 17, with tipoff scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

From there the Lady Bucks will begin that final stretch of 11 consecutive conference games when they host Southwest Tennessee on Friday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. at Copperweld Arena. The next day Dyersburg State visits, with tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m.

Shelbyville sophomore Callisha Johnson has emerged as the Lady Bucks' top scorer and has thrived under interim head coach Jerry Nichols' up-tempo system. Johnson averages 13.7 points per game, 3.3 rebounds, and over one assist and one steal. She also leads Motlow with nine blocked shots.

Classmate Emily Rivers, a Bolivar High School alumnus, has been consistent as a leader in the locker room and on the court. Rivers averages 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game and leads the team in both free-throw shooting and three-point shooting percentage.

The Lady Bucks have won three and lost one on their home court so far this season, and with their next three games at home they appear to be in excellent position to make a push for the top half of the conference standings.

Walters State (11-1, 7-0) currently sits alone at the top of the conference and is ranked ninth in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll. Southwest Tennessee is right behind the Lady Senators with a 6-1 conference mark and a 13-1 overall slate. The Lady Saluqis are ranked 21st in the nation.

Columbia State and Chattanooga State are tied for third with three conference losses each, followed by the Lady Bucks, Volunteer State, and Roane State; each with four losses in the conference. The bottom four finishers in the conference face each other in 'play-in' games prior to the conference tournament, with the two winners advancing to face the two top seeds in the opening round.

The Lady Bucks' goal is to avoid that 'play-in' round, which they have been a part of the previous three postseasons. Winning games on their home court will be critical to their chances of being one of the top six seeds at tournament time.

Lady Bucks Stumble in East Tennessee

The Motlow Lady Bucks surprised many Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) fans the first weekend of December when they swept a pair of conference foes at Copperweld Arena.

This past weekend, the tide turned for them. The Lady Bucks (5-6, 3-4) were defeated on their east Tennessee road trip, falling to 10th-ranked Walters State 59-39 Friday night in Morristown, then traveling to Harriman and dropping a 73-43 decision to Roane State on Saturday.

Motlow will now break for the holidays, returning to action on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 when they travel to Oxford, Georgia to face West Georgia Tech. The Lady Bucks return to TCCAA action when they host Southwest Tennessee on Friday, Jan. 20, with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m. at Copperweld Arena.

Friday night, the Lady Senators from Walters State (11-1, 7-0), currently ranked 10th by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), stormed out to an 11-0 lead and never looked back on their way to a 20-point victory. The win was the 62nd consecutive victory for the Lady Senators at 'Z' Buda Gymnasium.

Motlow fought back from that early deficit to close within 14-9 at the 10-minute mark of the first half, but five points would prove to be as close as the Lady Bucks would get the rest of the way. Walters State led at halftime 29-15 as Motlow connected on only 3-25 shots from the field in the opening 20 minutes.

Although the Lady Bucks continued to battle in the second half they were unable to overcome their shooting difficulties and the dominating height advantage of the home team. Motlow shot only 21.6% from the field and hit only 3-17 three-point shots. The Lady Senators won the rebounding battle 44-37.

Walters State post Megan Wallace led all scorers with 17 points and five blocked shots. Motlow freshman Calvesha Flowers had her best game of the season, leading the team with 10 points. Three Lady Bucks had four rebounds and the team showed improved free-throw shooting, connecting on 14-18 from the foul line.

On Saturday against Roane State (6-6, 3-4) in Harriman, the Lady Bucks were again defeated. The Lady Raiders led 39-20 at halftime and extended their lead to 58-27 midway through the second half.

Thank you to Walters State Sports Information Director Matt Daniels for his assistance in compiling this story.

Lady Bucks Stun Defending Champs

Call it a statement win.

The Motlow Lady Bucks have shown improvement this season under interim head coach Jerry Nichols, but until this past weekend they could not point to a 'statement' win that validated their improved play. Now they can.

Photo by Jeff Reed Photography
Paige Malone (23) led the Lady Bucks with 15 points Friday night against Chattanooga State. Photo from an earlier contest by Jeff Reed Photography.
Sophomore Paige Malone scored 15 points, pulled down five rebounds, and had five steals as the Lady Bucks upset defending Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) champion Chattanooga State 61-58 last Friday night at Copperweld Arena.

Motlow (5-4, 3-2) celebrated that big win the following day by trouncing visiting Cleveland State 67-44. Callisha Johnson led the Lady Bucks on Saturday with 13 points and four rebounds.

The Lady Bucks will now make their annual road trip to East Tennessee, visiting Walters State on Friday, Dec. 9, then traveling to Harriman to face Roane State on Saturday, Dec. 10. Saturday's contest will be the final game before holiday break, and the Lady Bucks won't play again until January 17, 2012, when they travel to Oxford, Georgia to face West Georgia Tech.

"Beating Chattanooga State is a great win for us," said Nichols. "The (Motlow) girls played really hard and I could not be more pleased with their effort. It's always important to win your home conference games in this league, and to get these two wins over the weekend was critical."

As impressive as beating the defending champions on Friday night was, the win Saturday was almost as important because it came just hours after and provided the Lady Bucks with even more confidence as they hit the road to face the nation's 12th-ranked team in Walters State.

"These ladies have been working extremely hard and it paid off for them this weekend," added Nichols. "I am really impressed with how they not only beat Chattanooga on Friday, but then fought through their fatigue and really took it to Cleveland State on Saturday. Hard work pays off and we saw evidence of that this weekend."

Friday night the Lady Bucks and Lady Tigers took turns leading throughout the contest, with Motlow holding a slim 32-29 lead at intermission. The two teams were never separated by more than five points, with Motlow finally taking the lead for good with 30 seconds remaining.

Johnson joined Malone in the scoring column with eight points, while also pulling down four rebounds and dishing out three assists. Katie Lipham added nine points and had four boards.

Saturday's contest against Cleveland State was not nearly as close, as the Lady Bucks jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Alexxus Sturkey had a strong performance for Motlow, scoring nine points while snaring eight rebounds and adding two assists and two steals.

Lady Bucks Fall to Volunteer State

The Motlow Lady Bucks pulled to within a point of Volunteer State with five minutes remaining before falling 67-59 on Saturday, Nov. 19 in Gallatin. Motlow committed 23 turnovers, offsetting a superb three-point shooting exhibition by sophomore Ashley Davis.

Ashley Davis
Ashley Davis made four three-point shots in the Lady Bucks' loss to Volunteer State.
The Lady Bucks (3-3, 1-2) were scheduled to face West Georgia Tech on Tuesday, Nov. 22, but the visiting Lady Knights were forced to cancel the contest due to a lack of sufficient players. West Georgia Tech was involved in an on-court altercation during its previous contest and had multiple players suspended.

Both Motlow squads will travel to Hanceville, Alabama to face Wallace State on Tuesday, Nov. 29. The Lady Bucks dropped a heartbreaking 63-59 decision to Wallace State on Nov. 5 at Copperweld Arena.

Davis led the Lady Bucks with 20 points, connecting on six three-point shots in nine attempts. Her six three-pointers tied the Motlow all-time record for the fourth most three-point shots made in a game. Four other players have made six during Lady Bucks' history, with Cori Jones being the last in 2008.

Callisha Johnson was the only other Lady Buck in double figures, scoring 11 points and blocking two shots. Paige Malone led Motlow with six rebounds, while Davis, Lekera Taylor, and Alexxus Sturkey each had five rebounds.

Lady Bucks Hold Off Gadsden State

Chattanooga freshman Alexxus Sturkey scored 12 of her team-high 14 points in the second half to help the Motlow Lady Bucks hold off the visiting Gadsden State Lady Cardinals 73-62 at Copperweld Arena Wednesday night.

Motlow (3-2, 1-1) will step back into Tennessee Community College Athletic Association play this weekend when it travels to Gallatin to face rival Volunteer State. Tipoff for the women's contest is scheduled for 2 p.m., with the radio and internet broadcast on WHMT 105.1 and TullahomaRadio.com.

Wednesday night against a non-conference opponent from Gadsden, Alabama, the Lady Bucks had 11 different players score during the first half on their way to a 35-27 halftime lead. Defense keyed the fast start for Motlow, forcing the visitors into 18 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

The visitors changed strategy after the intermission, working the ball inside to post Jasmyne Reeves and quickly closing the gap until the game was tied at 43-43 with 12 minutes remaining.

The next seven minutes were back and forth, with both teams missing multiple free throws that could have enabled them to take a lead, and with five minutes remaining to play the two teams were tied at 56.

That is when Sturkey began to take charge, scoring eight of her points, and the Lady Bucks began to consistently connect from the free-throw line. Callisha Johnson, Danielle Ervin, and Katie Lipham each hit back-to-back free throws at critical points in the final minutes.

Johnson joined Sturkey in double figures for Motlow with 11 points, while pulling down a team-high seven rebounds. Emily Rivers added 10 points, including a big three-pointer during the final minutes.

Lekera Taylor added six points and six rebounds for the Lady Bucks, while LaTasha Taylor scored nine and had a pair of assists. Reeves led the visitors with 13 points and six rebounds.

Lady Bucks Win Overtime Thriller

The Motlow Lady Bucks earned a split in their first two Tennessee Community College Athletic Association contests with an 84-79 overtime win over the Jackson State Lady Generals on Saturday, Nov. 12 in Jackson.

Callisha Johnson
Callisha Johnson had her first double-double in the Lady Bucks' win over Jackson State.
The win came on the heels of a 98-74 loss to Columbia State in Columbia Friday night.

The Lady Bucks (2-2, 1-1) will host Gadsden State from Gadsden, Alabama on Wednesday, Nov. 16, with tipoff scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Copperweld Arena. Gadsden State dropped its season opener 78-76 to Roane State.

Shelbyville sophomore Callisha Johnson led the Lady Bucks with 26 points and 10 rebounds in their win over Jackson State. Emily Rivers added 17 points and seven rebounds for Motlow.

Friday night in Columbia the Lady Bucks could not contain the strong inside game of Columbia State. Motlow fell behind 58-28 at the half before battling back to pull within 19 points, 77-58, with 6:50 remaining on the clock.

Jayme Jackson hit four three-point shots and joined Johnson in leading Motlow with 14 points each. Rivers scored eight and led the Lady Bucks with five rebounds. Kelva Atkins led Columbia State with 25 points with Brandi Pack adding 16 points.

Lady Bucks Drop Close Call

November 7, 2011

The Motlow Lady Bucks fought evenly against the defending Alabama state champion Wallace State Lady Lions for 35 minutes Saturday, only to see the visitors nail their free throws in the final five minutes and escape Copperweld Arena with a 63-59 victory in the season opener for the Motlow women.

Photo by Jeff Reed Photography
Freshman Presley Owen makes one of her three three-pointers on her way to scoring 11 points. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
"We played really hard today against an outstanding team, a defending state champion, and if we can give that kind of effort every contest we will have a chance to be in every game we play," said head coach Jerry Nichols.

"While we are never going to be satisfied with losing, we understand how good our opponent was today," continued Nichols. "The Lady Bucks gave everything they had and that is all we can ask. They proved they can play our style of basketball, and I'm confident they will keep working hard to get better."

Motlow will travel to Columbia, Kentucky on Tuesday, Nov. 8 to face Lindsey Wilson College, before opening Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) play this weekend with games at Columbia State on Friday and Jackson State on Saturday. The next home contest is Wednesday, Nov. 16, when Gadsden State visits Copperweld Arena at 5:30 p.m.

The Lady Bucks (0-1) led at halftime 29-26 and enjoyed their last lead at 48-46 with just over seven minutes remaining. However, the visiting Lady Lions (2-0) never led by more than six points as Motlow's smaller squad refused to fold.

Ultimately it was free throw shooting that accounted for the final margin as the visitors nailed 20-29 charity tosses in the second half. The Lady Bucks only went to the line 11 times after intermission, connecting on six opportunities.

Motlow jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead in the first 90 seconds, and then trailed 22-18 with five minutes left in the first half. The Lady Bucks, sparked by five three-pointers in the first 20 minutes, enjoyed their biggest lead of 27-22 before Wallace State cut the margin to three just before the half.

The Lady Lions regained the lead at 39-37 with 13:30 left to play. Ashley Davis, who finished with eight points, nailed her second three-pointer to give Motlow a one point lead with 10:40 remaining, but the free throw parade in the final minutes proved too much for the home team to overcome.

Motlow was led in scoring by sophomore Callisha Johnson and freshman Presley Owen, each with 11 points. LaTasha Taylor had nine points, while Davis finished with eight and Emily Rivers added seven.

Lekera Taylor led Motlow with six rebounds, while Paige Malone had a team-high three assists and Rivers led the Lady Bucks with three steals.

Motlow hit 13-28 two-point shots and was 7-27 from the three-point line. The Lady Bucks finished the game 10-16 from the foul line and had 11 assists and nine steals.

Wallace State was led in scoring by Ashley Nance with 19 points and Tecoya Allen with 14. The Lady Lions connected on 23-37 free throw opportunities on the afternoon.

Lady Bucks Determined to Improve

The Motlow Lady Bucks open official practice for the 2011-12 basketball season this week under a new coach running a new system. Although there are a significant number of unknowns as preparation begins for the new season, there is one thing they already know very well - they are going to be in shape.

Jeff Reed Photography
Callisha Johnson (34) and Jayme Jackson (14) are two of the six returning sophomores the Lady Bucks will rely on for leadership. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
When interim head Coach Jerry Nichols agreed to take on the task of coaching both Motlow programs, he let his new team know their first task would be to get into better physical condition. They not only accepted the challenge, they embraced it.

"These young ladies have worked really hard during the offseason to get themselves prepared to play the type of basketball that I am going to ask them to play, which is an up-tempo style much like my men's team plays," said Nichols. "They want to win, and they are willing to do what it takes to have a chance to win."

Nichols replaces Karen Serra, who resigned following her 13th season as head coach with a 226-231 overall record. Six sophomores return from last season's 9-18 squad, which ended the 2010-11 season with a 61-43 loss to eventual state champion Chattanooga State in the second round of the Region VII Tournament.

Along with returning sophomores Emily Rivers, Katie Lipham, Paige Malone, Callisha Johnson, Jayme Jackson, and Tiara Willingham, the Lady Bucks welcome three sophomore transfers and five true freshmen to the roster.

The incoming sophomores are Jennifer Maynard from Baxter, Tennessee, Ashley Davis from Fayetteville, and Latasha Taylor from Clarksville.

Jeff Reed Photography
Returning sophomore Katie Lipham will be counted on for increased playing time this season. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Freshmen recruits include Calvesha Flowers from Whites Creek in Nashville, Lekera Taylor and Erica Ervin from Howard in Chattanooga, Alexxus Sturkey from Tyner in Chattanooga, and Presley Owen from Nettleton High School in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Although Nichols wasn't named interim coach until August 15, when most schools were well into their recruiting process, he was able to attract a quality group of newcomers to join his six returning veterans.

"My car became very familiar with I-24 and some of the state highways in this area," added the coach. "Our excellent facilities and support personnel make Motlow a very attractive opportunity for student athletes who want to not only play winning sports, but also graduate and move on to four-year institutions. I expect every one of these young ladies to graduate."

Motlow graduated 83% of its student athletes during the 2010-11 academic year, the highest percentage of graduates of any community college athletic program in the state. Motlow also led the state in 2009-10, when it graduated 87% of its student athletes.

The Lady Bucks will open the season on Tuesday, Nov. 1, when they host the Nashville All-Stars at 5:30pm. Motlow will host Wallace State, from Hanceville, Alabama, on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 2pm. Both contests are at Copperweld Arena inside Nisbett Center on the Moore County campus.

Lady Bucks Learning to Run

If there is one thing members of the Motlow Lady Bucks basketball team could count on when Jerry Nichols agreed to be the interim head coach for the 2011-2012 season it was that they would spend a lot of time on physical conditioning.

Nichols, who coached the Motlow men's team to the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) regular season championship last season, will coach both teams during the coming year. Although the responsibilities for Nichols have obviously increased, his approach to coaching will remain consistent for both teams.

"There won't be a lot of difference in the way these girls play from the way the Bucks play," said Nichols during Motlow's annual Meet the Bucks/Media Day last week. "We are going to be in shape and we are going to push the ball up the court."

The Lady Bucks return a solid nucleus of sophomores from the previous season, including leading returning scorer Callisha Johnson. The former Shelbyville Eaglette averaged 7.3 points per game in 2010-11, and was one of two Lady Bucks featured during media day.

"The biggest difference so far is the amount of running we are doing," said Johnson to the assembled media in Nisbett Center. "It's okay though because I know this will make us a better team."

Sophomore Emily Rivers, from Bolivar, Tennessee, joined Johnson at the media table and echoed her teammate's assessment of the preseason workouts. "We can already feel the difference," said Rivers. "Our legs are sore, but we know we have to get in shape to play Coach's system."

The Lady Bucks preseason roster features six returning sophomores, three transfer sophomores, and seven incoming freshmen. The additions are a testament to Nichols' tireless recruiting efforts.

"I have logged a lot miles during the last few weeks," added the coach. "These girls are working really hard though and I'm pleased with their desire to get better."

Both Motlow squads will begin official practice in early October, with the season opener scheduled for the first week of November.

2010-2011 Women's Basketball News Archives