ODU Women's Basketball Team's Transition

The Lady Monarchs had a phenomenal season last year with a 24-6 overall record which included a 14-1 home record. They fell short of winning the C-USA title as they lost to Rice but the team was able to take so much from a season that was lost to the Coronavirus. The team played remarkable conference play and were projected to make the NCAA Women’s Tournament.

The announcement was never made as the season came to an abrupt end and the Lady Monarchs went through a coaching overhaul as the Coach Nikki McCray left to take the coaching job at Mississippi State. Fast forward to April 2020, and ODU brings in Coach DeLisha Milton-Jones.

Coach D, as the players call her, brings a remarkable resume which includes starting her career playing at the University of Florida before winning two WNBA Championships and winning two Gold Medals in the Olympics. Before taking the head coaching position at ODU, Coach D coached Syracuse and now brings her experience to a university that has their hopes set on a conference title and more.

We had the chance to talk with Coach D, and wanted to know how the team was preparing for the current situation and what she brings to the university. “We’re making sure that our ladies are educated from the campus to the athletic department from the lurking danger of the virus that is right around the corner.” The team has put themselves in what is now implemented in other sports, a bubble.

They are able to practice while being extremely careful and mindful of the potential issues that could complicate things further. Coach D also goes into saying how the team has done an exceptional job staying safe and is excited about the upcoming season.

We also wanted to know what coaching strategies and philosophies Coach D looked to incorporate into the team's body of work. “She looks to bring her experience especially during her time as a pro. Wants to empathize with the point of being classy and professional and wants her players to be committed with two feet in.

Coach D also wants the team to improve on their free throw and field goal shooting percentage which will allow the team to build on their confidence. “I love the fact that the team is highly competitive and some teams need to coach that but with this group, it’s in their DNA.”

The season was cut short last year and as we look for answers to allow our players to return to the hardwood. We are excited that Coach DeLisha Milton-Jones took the challenge of leading our Lady Monarchs to the next level and we must show our appreciation by filling those stands with whatever amount of fans they allow us to.

The team returns several players, which include Amari Young who averaged 10.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.1 steals a game while making all 30 stars. Factor in the play of Ajah Wayne and Victoria Morris and fans and the student body have a lot to look forward to this upcoming season. Go Monarchs!

Photo courtesy of WVEC News