Blinn women’s basketball to feature strong defense in 2018-19

After 15 straight NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball Region XIV Championship Tournament appearances, the Blinn College women's basketball team is looking to defend its spot in the postseason by relying on a strong defense in 2018-19.

"We have seven athletes who are going to see a lot of playing time, so our defense will be a key factor this season," said head coach Jeff Jenkins. "We need these seven to make every shot tough and find ways to win. They are all very athletic and are going to work hard all season."

Blinn returns two sophomore forwards in Missy Archie (Huntsville) and Alexus Wykoff (Magnolia).

Last season, Archie started 20 games and averaged 4.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Wykoff played in 31 games and led Blinn with a 41.9 field goal percentage. She ranked fifth on the team with 109 rebounds and 24 steals.                                                                                                                                                         

"Archie has a great work ethic and gets better each year," Jenkins said. "Wykoff plays really hard and shoots the ball really well."

Alexus Brigham (Fort Worth) transferred from Santa Clara University to join the Buccaneers after appearing in nine games last year for the Broncos.

"Brigham is a really good player who understands the game and does a lot of things well," Jenkins said.

The Buccaneers add three incoming freshmen and one redshirt freshman in forwards Mariel Wade (Cypress) and Armani Anderson (Corpus Christi), and guards Kristine Ezimako (Cypress) and Imani Wimbish-Gay (Victoria).                                                                  

Wade helped lead Langham Creek High School to the playoffs in 2017 and 2018, while Anderson helped lead Flour Bluff High School to the state finals in 2017 and was named Most Valuable Player in two seasons.

"Wade is getting better every day in practice and shoots the three-pointer well," Jenkins said. "She is a big, strong kid who redshirted last season and has grown as a player."

Ezimako helped lead Cypress Creek High School to the state semifinals in 2018, while Wimbish-Gay went to  the playoffs all four seasons with Victoria East High School and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.

"Ezimako is extremely long and a good defender who practices hard every day," Jenkins said. "Wimbish-Gay shoots a nice 15-footer and is a great ball handler."

The Buccaneers finished with a 15-16 record in 2017-18 and earned a spot in the Region XIV Tournament for the 15th consecutive year. Blinn concluded the season at the regional quarterfinals after being defeated by Kilgore College.

The 2018-19 season opens tonight against McLennan Community College at 5:30 p.m. in the Kruse Center.

"Our team has practiced extremely hard and is easy to coach, so I am excited about the upcoming season," Jenkins said.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 38 NJCAA national championships since 1987.