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Inside the ROAR with #ClemsonWBB

Inside the ROAR with #ClemsonWBB

Members of the Clemson women’s basketball team will share their thoughts and experiences on throughout the 2017-18 season. This week’s entry is by freshman, Phoenix, Ariz. native Jenise Strover. Scroll down to read previous blog entries.

11/22/17: Time Change & Time Management…Jenise Strover

Hi everyone, this is Jenise Strover. I am a freshman post from Phoenix, Arizona. I am originally from Colorado Springs, but I spent all four years of high school in Phoenix so we could live closer to family. I have a younger brother who also plays basketball, and is trying to play Division l basketball like his big sis.

The team welcomed me with open arms when I got to campus in June. I think the fact that they were so welcoming made coming to college a lot easier. I have created some friendships that will last a really long time, and also a strong, supportive relationship. I really appreciate how comfortable everyone on the team has made me feel, especially considering how far away I am from home.

I must say it was a bit tough transitioning from Arizona to Clemson because of the time difference; it was difficult to get used to.

Over the summer, I took two classes. Along the way, I met Sarah-Jo, my academic advisor, and Brad, my learning specialist. They helped me so much, both physically and mentally. They helped me improve my study habits and plan out my work. I ended up receiving A’s in my first two college classes, and I thank both of them for all of their help.

The transition from high school basketball to college basketball is much different. With college basketball, your schedule for each day consists of class, basketball, tutoring, eat, sleep, and repeat. It was also different for me because I went from being the best player on the court in high school and playing the entire game, to being on a team where everyone is a great player. I will say that the time management gets a little bit stressful, with school and basketball, trying to complete study hall hours, etc.

We have now played four regular season games and two exhibition games, and I love how much better the competition is. We are headed to Daytona this week to compete! Also, our next home game is against Charleston Southern on December 2! Be there or be square!

One last thing, with Thanksgiving coming up, I would love to say that I’m thankful for my family, and Malik, because they are my biggest supporters and they are the people I go to when I need them.

11/15/17: Getting Her Feet Wet, In the Classroom & On the Court…Tylar Bennett

Hey everybody, this is freshman post Tylar Bennett. I am from Detroit, Michigan. My time here at Clemson has been one to remember thus far. I’ve created friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. The young ladies on this team all gave me a warm welcome as if they had already known me. They made the transition process from high school to college a lot easier. If I wasn’t practicing or in school, then I was somewhere laughing with the girls. This helped me keep my mind off of the fact that I am ten hours away from home.

Not knowing what to expect for college classes, I was enrolled in two summer courses to get my feet wet. Along with these courses, I was able to also start my tutoring sessions. With the help of the tutors and also studying on my own, I was able to receive A’s for my first two college courses. As the summer moved along, I became more in touch with my academic advisor, Sarah-Jo, who helps me juggle academics and athletics.

Before I knew it, I was practicing with a Division I basketball program! It was so amazing to step on the floor with young ladies who play in the ACC…and to think I am one of them now, made me ecstatic. I was really nervous at first, but Jaia Alexander really helped me out. She told me, ‘Just be confident. It will come to you.’ After she said that, I shook off the nerves and performed.

Now, we are two games into the season and things are still going great. We won both games and now we are up to face South Carolina on Thursday. I can’t wait to see the great things that come from this season! I hope you guys are watching!

11/8/17: Showing Team AND Individual Growth…Chyna Cotton

Being a part of the Clemson family has been such a great experience. I have had the opportunity to connect with a lot of people through my major, which is Communications. In meeting these people, I have become more confident in my future profession, in regards to becoming an entrepreneur.

Being in college has also allowed me to properly evaluate myself and my attitude. Before coming to college, my parents would always say that my attitude hindered me the most. Although my family knew that my attitude was a reflection of my passion for the activities that I enjoy, my family away from home might not see it as such. That being said, I have approached my sophomore year at Clemson with a different mindset. During my freshman year, I procrastinated a lot. This year, I really have a sense of the work ethic I must have to succeed in this conference. Playing basketball in the ACC makes you hungry for more, and, I’M STARVING.

This season looks really promising for our team. We have a lot to offer, both as a team and also as individuals. Seeing how the returning players have matured in their games has been really refreshing, but I have really enjoyed seeing the freshmen and what they bring to the table. Tylar Bennett, Jenise Strover and Destiny Thomas have all shown a lot of drive, and immediately came on board with the culture that our team is still developing.

Last season was a great learning experience for me in terms of getting familiar with basketball at the ACC level, and I’m looking forward to being able to show growth from last season to this season. We had a great offseason in which we focused on team unity and individual development, both of which I truly enjoyed and appreciated. I’m really excited to see our progress as a team translate over to success.

-Chi Chi

11/1/17: A Freshman Point of View…Destiny Thomas

When I arrived on campus in June, I knew that I made one of the best decisions by choosing to further my academic and athletic career at Clemson. My teammates welcomed me in and made sure that I felt like I was a part of the family immediately. Also, linking back up with my former AAU teammate, Aliyah Collier, made me feel more comfortable.

Not knowing what to expect, a couple of my teammates pulled me aside and told me they could already see potential in me; therefore, I should just relax and play my game. I was very proud to be with a team that worked out together and bonded off the court as well, during our offseason workouts.

Sarah-Jo, our academic advisor, made sure that I was within good academic standing. I finished my first summer session with a 4.0. I will say that my first summer here at Clemson was a great experience.

As time moved on, workouts started becoming more intense and frequent. Finally, October 2nd came around. This was the first day of official practice. I was nervous, but really excited to have my first collegiate practice.

A couple of days ago, we hosted North Greenville in our first exhibition game of the season. The tunnel, the lights, the fans, the band, and the music—what an unexplainable feeling. I’ve always dreamed of that moment, so to turn it into a reality was truly a blessing. As a freshman, this was a very thrilling game. Collectively, I think there was a great amount of team effort. In the second half, we found out that we can work together and overcome any obstacle.

We are a few days away from our second exhibition game, and I can truly say that this team is showing improvements every day. I think that our freshman class can add a lot to this experienced team as well. It’s only up from here! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the 2017-2018 season. Stay tuned!

– D. Thomas, #1

10/25/17: Reflections & Growth, Kobi Thornton

Being here at Clemson has been such an amazing experience so far. I am able to do what I love and get a free education as well. To call this a blessing would be an understatement. As an incoming freshman last year, I didn’t know what to expect coming into college. The only thing I knew was that practice was going to be tough, as well as my classes, and that I would have to find some sort of way to manage between the two. I soon started to realize how important it was for me to “work on my craft,” as the coaches say.

I didn’t expect to receive the accolades that I did my freshman year, but to know that there were people who felt otherwise means a lot. Even my father told me, “I’m not surprised, I knew you had it in you. I just needed for you to believe in yourself.” Words of encouragement from my family, my teammates and coaches have helped me come a long way. The fact that I made the ACC All-Freshman Team was motivation for me that has carried over into this upcoming season. I am more confident than I was last year, I am getting stronger thanks to Coach C, and I am focusing more on the little things that will help me to be a better player on and off the court.

Ever since the first official practice, I knew this team would continue to pick up where we left off last year. We were happy with the wins that we had last year, but we were definitely not satisfied. Practices have been very intense on most days, mainly when we play short segments throughout the practice. We make each other work, we make each other better, and that’s what it’s all about. Everyone contributes in different ways. Everyone knows what the goal is for this year, and you can see that every day when we step out on the floor to practice.

We are continuing to grow and bond as a team. Our team chemistry is getting better on the court, and everyone has a positive mindset going into this season. Our freshmen, Destiny Thomas, Tylar Bennett, and Jenise Strover, are three great players and they bring a new dynamic to the team both on and off the court. We are glad to have them on board with us. I am excited to see what this season has in store for us Lady Tigers.

10/18/17: Challenging Academics, Team Chemistry & Bonding…Jaia Alexander

My sophomore year has been nothing short of challenging academically. My classes are very difficult this year as I am beginning my business curriculum. I am taking management, marketing, biology lab, Western World music and business statistics. The hardest class I have is business statistics, and my favorite class is marketing. Between class and tutoring, my academic schedule is pretty busy.

Since the season has started, balancing basketball and school can be tough, but it is also very exciting. Practice has been going well so far and the team is working really hard. I have been out with an injury, so I was able to watch the first three weeks of practice closely. My teammates have been focusing on what the coaches are asking of us and taking information in every day. I am also really proud of our three freshmen. They are a talented group with a lot of potential to be a big help this season.

I have noticed a big difference in the team’s mentality this year. It is clear that everyone is more focused and determined after the season we had last year. We are all excited to get back on the floor together. I have enjoyed watching my teammates put in extra work over the summer to better their individual games, so that we can be better as a team.

Not only are we closer on the floor, but we are closer off the court as well. Recently, we were surprised with a team bonding activity. The staff and players took a trip to Breakout Games in Greenville. The Breakout Games are a series of different rooms that simulate high intensity situations. The situations require out-of-the-box thinking in order to reach the goal. In groups, we had to figure out how to break out of the room together in under an hour.

This activity was one of my favorite team bonding experiences, because no one knew what to expect. It challenged us to trust each other and use all of our strengths. My group included Kobi, Aliyah, Siana, Danielle, Chyna, Sirah and KP. I learned something new about every one of the people in my group. I learned that Kobi is good at putting in combinations and locking us out of safes. Aliyah is great at using clues to break out of kidnapping situations. Siana is good at encouraging the group, because she is not so good at finding codes. I learned that listening to Danielle is important, because she can find things that look like a clock. Chyna doesn’t like being trapped, and Sirah is good at doing math and calculating numbers to find codes. I also learned that KP resorts to being forceful with things when she is trapped.

I am really looking forward to this year and making more memories with my teammates that have now become my family.

10/11/17: A Valuable Summer in Clemson

Hi everybody, this is redshirt junior Francesca Tagliapietra.

We are less than three weeks away from our first scrimmage (on October 29th…be there…LOL!) and I couldn’t be more excited. I haven’t played for the last two years after my knee injury, so I really look forward to being back on the court with my teammates.

During the summer, the coaches have always allowed me to go home to Italy, but since I did not spend last year’s fall semester in Clemson, I decided to stay here for the entire summer. I could not have made a better decision, because it was a great opportunity to catch up with school and especially with basketball workouts. At first, I was worried that because I was not going to be as busy as we are during season, I was going to miss my family and friends a lot. Thanks to my teammates who also stayed here for the summer, I had a great time! As you already read from Ivy’s blog, our summer was full of adventures. Long story short, we went hiking, took trips to Atlanta and Greenville, and tried many different food places. (If anyone needs any recommendations on places to eat, you can ask me!) Besides the fun, I also had the chance to work out a lot; I gradually got back in shape and started to feel confident again. I want to thank Sthefany Thomas, a former Clemson basketball player that was also one of our GAs last year; she was always available for workouts and I had the chance to learn a lot from her.

Last but not least, as a senior in the classroom, I will earn my degree in psychology in May of 2018. I am very excited about it, because my whole family will be here from Italy for the graduation ceremony.  

That’s all from me for now! Stay tuned for more blogs, and hope to see you at our home games! Our schedule is out, so make sure to go check it out!


10/4/17: Teammates = Family

Hi, my name is Aliyah Collier. I am from Augusta, Georgia, home of the Masters. I am currently a junior here at Clemson University.

Our first official practice for the upcoming season was on Monday, and it was great! I love being around my teammates (my family), and I enjoy being in practice with them. The atmosphere and energy in the room was really high for our first practice and I loved every bit of it. It just shows how ready my teammates and I are for the season.

I enjoyed my summer. While I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my family, I enjoyed every moment I had with them. I am a big family person; family means a lot to me.

I also had the opportunity to run into my old friend Destiny Thomas (we played AAU together). Destiny joined our team this summer as a freshman. I also met another new addition to the team, freshman Tylar Bennett. Since they’ve been on campus, my teammate and roommate Chyna Cotton and I have grown closer to them and learned things about them, on the court and off. It’s been great getting to know them better, and having them to push me and motivate me as the season approaches.

I have a lot to accomplish this year, and I feel that it is going to be a great and wonderful year for us, and that this team will go far. We are coming back stronger and better than ever

9/27/17: Family, Academics & a Special Upcoming Season…Danielle Edwards

This year is an exciting year for the Edwards family. I have a twin brother, Drew, who plays basketball for Providence College in Rhode Island, and this year is his comeback year. Drew was unable to play last year due to a knee injury, but he’s back now and better than ever. Drew and I have an older brother, Darryle, who just graduated from the University of Maryland, and now he’s a Graduate Assistant for the men’s team at Providence College! Although I don’t get to see my brothers often, I know that they are doing great things.

Academically, the beginning of the school year has been one that does not compare to any of the other years I’ve been at Clemson University. I am currently a junior academically, however, I am graduating a year early so that I can start my Master’s degree. Therefore, I have a lot to juggle on my plate. Currently, in addition to classes, I am an intern in our Athletic Communication department, and at the same time I am working hard on the court and in the weight room with a group of young women that are preparing to change the face of this basketball program. Every day I see my teammates putting in work and going the extra mile, which shows the dedication that this team has. This year is going to be a very special year for our team. November cannot come fast enough.

So far, we are improving our conditioning and working on getting stronger in the weight room. Every day is a challenge to make us better. Every rep is an obstacle that we work through together. Next week starts the beginning of official practices, which means we are that much closer to our season opener. I am excited to see what the season has in store for us.

9/20/17: A Summer to Remember Forever…Sirah Diarra

Hi, my name is Sirah Diarra. I am from Montreal, Canada and I am currently a junior at Clemson University. This summer, I had the opportunity to play with the Quebec-Canada basketball team, which represented Canada at the eighth edition of the Francophone Games. The games took place in Abidjan in Ivory Coast (Africa). 50+ countries were part of the event. Prior to the games, we played in a tournament back in Canada and we also went to Buenos Aires in Argentina for a week-and-a-half-long training camp (June 23-July 3). On our way to Abidjan we had the chance to make a stop in Morocco and see Casablanca for a day. We left for Africa on July 18 and returned to Canada on August 1.

I am so grateful for the experience that I had this summer. Not only for the fact that we won the silver medal, but also for the opportunity to see the world and meet different people from different places around the world. I had the chance to play with very talented players, and also to compete against good players from everywhere around the world. I think this really helped me to realize how there is so much talent out there, and that you have to work extremely hard to be at the top.

The competition was tough and it felt like I was in the middle of the college regular season, just because of the number of games we played in one summer. From a personal point of view, it helped me find myself again and find the player that I used to be when I first arrived in Clemson. I also think the experience helped me because I was definitely ready to come back to Clemson and get back to work for the upcoming season.

Outside of basketball, the summer was amazing because I had the chance to spend time with my family and friends, travel and discover new places and be a tourist in these foreign countries. Not only did I extend my knowledge on a basketball level but also on a cultural level by being around people with different cultures, values and lifestyle.

To me, this trip was about more than just basketball. It was very important because my parents are from Africa and I had the chance to go back there for the second time. I was also able to be with my godmother who lives in Ivory Coast and who spoiled me the whole time that I was there. If I had the chance to do it over again, I would do it in a heartbeat. This was one of the best experiences of my life and I will forever remember it.

9/13/17: A Family Summer & Fall Excitement on Campus…Keniece Purvis

This past summer was one to remember! Since I have been in college, I have not been able to go home for more than two weeks at a time, but this summer, I was able to go home for almost two months! I spent time with a lot of friends and family, which brought me great joy. I was also able to watch my younger brother cross the stage at his high school graduation. I was so very proud of him; most people think he’s my twin. I was also really glad I was able to spend a lot of time with him before our family sent him off to college. I spent time with some of my closest friends, who kept me busy doing things every week such as movie nights, a concert, bowling, swimming, etc.

After a good time visiting home, summer school and summer workouts began. Our team was fortunate enough to be able to work with The Program this summer. We learned a lot of team building skills which helped us trust one another and be closer as a unit. As the summer came to an end we had a two-week break before the regular school year began. During this time, I attended my family reunion and really enjoyed my time with my extended family.

Now, we are about three weeks in to the fall semester, and the environment on campus is great. All the students are back and the campus is full. Preseason workouts have continued and we are working a lot on strength and conditioning. This past weekend, my teammates and I had the opportunity to attend the Clemson versus Auburn football game. The game was very lively and exhilarating. So many people were on campus cheering our Tigers on; it was such an experience! Of course, Clemson beat Auburn 14-6, so it was a great night in Tiger Town! We have about a month left until our season is officially here. I am very excited, this year I will be a junior and I foresee a lot of good things to come on and off the court.

9/6/17: My Epic Summer Journey…Nelly Perry

If I had to choose a word to describe this summer I would say “blessed.” This summer, I traveled a great deal, and I was able to see my family more than I have in the past three summers at Clemson. To start the summer, I attended the Future concert, which was an amazing experience. I also spent some time with friends of a family member in North Carolina, where we attended a birthday celebration. It was cool because it was for an older person and everyone laughed together as they shared and relived old stories. After that, I went home to New Jersey. The feeling of going home is so sweet because of the love my family and friends show me; I can tell that I am genuinely missed. I was home for two weeks, during which time I continuously gave back to my community by attending various camps giving short motivational speeches, reading to children, playing one on one games and guiding them through basketball drills. The best experience of all was when I attended the Extended School Year Program (ESY at H.B Wilson) with the Special Seeds Program. The children were so excited for me to be there and it was a great time.

What I also found interesting this summer was working the Audra Smith House of Hoops Camp. It was an awesome experience for me. I was able to see young talent and give the players an understanding of what it is like to play at the collegiate level. A few days after camp ended, I went to see the Atlanta Dream play and I was able to take a picture with the WNBA president and a current player. Being in the presence of what my future goals are, I believe that was one of my favorite moments of my summer.

After that, we settled back in on campus and started our summer workouts. We did many team activities together off the court, but I think the most helpful part was being able to complete The Program. The Program was very intense, but a great learning experience. It helped me to see my teammates and myself from a different perspective. It also allowed me to define myself as a leader, for example, speaking up, being out of my comfort zone, motivating, encouraging and leading by example. Those skills will help me in everyday life, both on and off the court.

I must say that the end of the summer was the best of all (EPIC!). My siblings and I surprised my mother with a surprise birthday/appreciation party and I was definitely in attendance. On top of that, I started my senior year and preseason workouts. My major is Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management (PRTM) and the first few weeks of class have been pretty good. Overall, this summer I witnessed my teammates work very hard and do things out of their comfort zones, and because of that, I know this year is going to be nothing but astounding. I am anxiously anticipating earning my degree and having a great school year and athletic career.

8/30/17: Senior Year Excitment…Alexis Carter

This summer I went home to Portland, Oregon for a month! It was the longest I’ve been home since I left for college. During my time at home, I was able to witness my childhood best friend get married! It was a beautiful wedding and I was so happy to be a bridesmaid and take part in the union of two people I care so much about! While I was home I was also able to watch my brothers play for their summer sports programs. Although I was in Portland for most of the break, I also spent two weeks in New York, where I was able to tour the city and enjoy my summer vacation.

Classes started a week ago, and the first week of school has made me excited, as this is my last year before I will earn my degree! It is nice to have all the students back on campus because there is a buzz in the air everywhere you go! This year I will be finishing up my degree by taking all upper level management classes, and also completing my minor in athletic leadership. Another big aspect of my educational experience here at Clemson has been the tutoring and advising opportunities for the athletes. This year the Athletic Department has opened up a new academic facility (the Nieri Family Enrichment Center) that is beautiful! It is also in a great location that is only a three-minute walk from Littlejohn.

For my last year at Clemson, I am most excited about earning my degree and graduating from a top school. Being a student-athlete and earning a business degree is definitely a challenge, but I am blessed to have the opportunity to learn and compete in such a great environment. I’ve already had an amazing three years on and off the court.

8/23/17: An Adventurous Summer…Ivy Atkism

If I had to describe this summer in one word it would be “adventure”.

I promised myself that this summer would be the best one of my college career, and it didn’t disappoint. It was full of adventures, good times, experiences, but most importantly, good people. I think the best way to explain my summer would be in phases.

Phase 1 was my time of adventures and exploring. Whether it was hiking Table Rock, trips to Greenville to explore, or trips to Atlanta to watch basketball and spend some time at Top Golf, it was all time well spent. Victoria (Cardaci), Franny (Francesca Tagliapietra) and I had a list of things we wanted to accomplish and we got most of it done.

Phase 2 was full of basketball. The whole team made their way back to campus for the second session of summer school and we started team workouts. One of my favorite parts of the summer was the togetherness that I experienced with our team after working together to make it through The Program. The Program is an experience that encourages leadership and togetherness. It was amazing to see different teammates lead and speak up when necessary, support each other when we got down, and come together through the tough times. We were given different obstacles and situations of adversity through sand bags, logs, the 10-foot end of the pool, and THE HEAT. We fought hard through everything that was thrown at us and finished every mission. After that I experience, I was sure that I had teammates who would fight with me through anything and everything.

Phase 3 was my summer job. This summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to work as a full-time nanny and it was an experience I will never forget. While my weekdays were full of work, there was still time for a fun on the weekends with friends and family.

The most important thing that I will take away from this summer is the amount of personal growth I experienced. Struggling with anxiety always made it difficult to hang out with friends and teammates and get out of my comfort zone, but this summer was full of loving people and adventures I’ll never forget.