Contact: C. Scott Shasteen
Sept. 27, 2016
After being hired as head coach of the Motlow State women's basketball program in April, Bart Walker immediately began to assemble his first recruiting class. Although the late hire and start date put him behind the curve on this first year's prospects, Walker has brought in an impressive group of newcomers around four returning sophomores.
Walker came to Motlow after spending the previous four years as an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech. In 10 years as a head coach at the junior college level, Walker has amassed a 217-71 overall record and taken three different teams to the elite eight round of the national tournament. His staff includes assistant coaches Donnie Woods and Zack Banks.
"I appreciate the opportunity to be the head coach at Motlow," said Walker. "The entire Motlow family has been nothing but supportive in the short time I have been on campus. The community as a whole has welcomed me and my team with open arms and has shown strong support for the direction this athletic department is going."
The four returnees contributed significantly to the Lady Bucks' late season run last year when, playing with only seven players, the Motlow women won their final four regular season games under interim head coach Arthur Latham, who is an assistant coach with the men's program.
"Our four returning players set the tone for this program last spring with their effort and commitment," added Walker. "They have bought into the new culture we are creating at Motlow and I am counting on them to set a good example both on the court and in the classroom for this team."
Sydney Floyd is the team's top returning scorer and rebounder. Floyd, who played her prep basketball at Stewarts Creek in Rutherford County, averaged 15.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 steals per contest while shooting 80 percent at the free throw line during the 2015-16 season.
Joining Floyd as a returning sophomore for the Lady Bucks are three more in-state players. Aja Robertson is from Bells and played high school at Crockett County. She averaged eight points and 3.8 rebounds per game last season.
Taylor Hayes came to Motlow last year from White Station in Memphis and had a productive freshman season, averaging 7.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals. Camecia Graham is from John Overton High School in Nashville and averaged 2.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last year.
Joining the four returners on the Motlow roster for 2016-17 are in-state freshmen Miranda Boutwell, who played her high school basketball at Perry County in Linden, Sepe Moore, from Northeast High School in Clarksville, Zykirria Washington from Antioch High School, and Ebony Shaw from Southwind High School in Memphis.
Out-of-state talent includes freshmen Jewel Ledbetter, from Westlake High School in Waldorf, Md.; Tamiah Stanford, a point guard from North Hardin High School in Radcliff, Ky.; Lisa Jo Wygal from Thomas Nelson High School in New Haven, Ky.; and Sara Vujacic, the sister of NBA veteran Sasha Vujacic, who is from Maribor, Slovenia.
Newcomers who have transferred into Motlow this season are sophomores Kienya Jones, who played her freshman season at Eastern Florida State College and high school at Niles North in Evanston, Ill.; Tybriann Jones, who spent her freshman year at the College of Southern Idaho and played in high school at Nathaniel Narbonna in Hawthorne, Ca.; and Shalyn Washington, who spent her freshman year at Frederick Community College and is originally from Highland Springs, Va.
"This group as a whole has worked extremely hard in the offseason," continued Walker. "They have shown tremendous growth in both their conditioning level and their attention to detail. We have had a number of Division I programs come in to evaluate our players, and I'm excited about the foundation that is being laid for the future of Lady Bucks' basketball."
The Lady Bucks will open the Bart Walker era on Nov. 1, when they travel to Lebanon to take on the Cumberland University JV. They will follow that with a trip to Niceville, Fla., where they will play a pair of powerful programs in Northwest Florida State and Pensacola State. The first home game is Nov. 11, when Tennessee Community College Athletic Association rival Columbia State visits Copperweld Arena, with the women's tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Copperweld Arena is inside Nisbett Center on Motlow State's Moore County campus. There is no admission charge for Motlow athletic events.
Sophomore Sydney Floyd is the top returning scorer and rebounder for the Motlow Lady Bucks. Floyd, who played high school basketball at Stewarts Creek in Smyrna, averaged over 15 points and almost six rebounds per game last season. Floyd is one of four returning sophomores for the Lady Bucks, who open the season Nov. 1 in Lebanon against the Cumberland University JV. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.