Nov. 17, 1999
With the departure of four starting seniors, the first thought that comes to mind is rebuilding.
However Clemson Head Coach Jim Davis refuses to use the word rebuilding but instead stresses the axioms of character, team concept,and unity to the seven returning letterwinners and a cast of talented newcomers.
The 1998-99 team demonstrated these elements last year, when it won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Final 16.
“There is no doubt, we have some question marks going into this season,” said Davis, who will be entering his 13th season at Clemson. “We have several young ladies who were very successful in backup roles who will assume starting roles in 1999-00. Obviously, we were hit hard by graduation and with those seniors went a large percentage of our scoring and rebounding. We are going to forge a team from a talented group of athletes who will have to compete each day and help each other improve each day in practice. I think we will come together and become a team that can defend our ACC Championship.”
Clemson won a school record 26 games last year and advanced to the ACC Tournament’s Championship game for the fourth year in a row and won the school’s second ACC crown.
Here is how Davis sees the season in the major areas of the game:
Frontcourt -“I think once again, we will be strong in the front line with good size. We have some veteran players who are winners in every sense of the word. Obviously coming off a championship year, they know what it takes and I think those veterans will lead the way in our efforts to repeat as champions.
Backcourt -“The backcourt will be very deep and possess speed and quickness. This will probably be our most athletic backcourt we have had in my years at Clemson.
Three-Point Shooting – “Angie Cossey, Amirah Leonard, and Nuria Forns all proved that they are capable of having big nights beyond the three-point stripe. Krystal Scott also has the potential of having a big night behind the three point line. Freshman Heather Crowe and Yoneko Allen are also quality three-point shooters.”
Free-Throw Percentage – “We take pride in being one of the league leaders in free throw shooting. I expect this team to excel in this area as well. As coaches, we make it a priority to recruit shooters and this is an indication I feel we will be a good free throw shooting team again this season.”
Rebounding – “Erin Batth should be our most dominating rebounder this season. Joanie Mungro is a master at establishing rebounding position. With our overall athleticism, we will be quick to the ball which should enable us to get second chance opportunities.”
Offense – “We can be a good transition team this season. Amirah Leonard and Scott demonstrated last year their ability to get out quickly on the break. The skill of our post players to run the floor is a definite plus. I think we have the ability to score in a lot of ways. We can punish people inside and our perimeter game should be good as well. We can score on transition and burn our opponents with the three. Our aggressiveness in rebounding to gain second chance points will be stressed.”
Defense – “Once again, defense will be the key. I think our attitude of giving our best effort defensively is our battle cry. I believe Batth is the best post defender in the country. Our goal is to have every opponent to work hard to score any basket. Gaines, probably the best athlete on our team, certainly has the ability to defend the opponent’s toughest perimeter player.”
The front court will feature two seniors and two juniors. The seniors include Datishella Byrd and Joanie Mungro, while Erin Batth and Nuria Forns are the juniors. These young ladies should provide a solid front court foundation.
“We may have some question marks at the start of the season, but I am confident that by midseason, these questions will be answered in a positive way. “Our front court players run very well and have a great deal of jumping ability and have the the determination to succeed.”
Datishella Byrd played in 26 games last season and averaged 6.8 minutes per game. She averaged 1.3 ppg., and 1.9 rpg.
“Datishella Byrd makes up for her lack of size with tremendous effort. She has very good quickness and becomes a very difficult matchup because of her three-point shooting ability.”
Joanie Mungro started 11 games for the Lady Tigers last season and played in all 32 games. She averaged 16.8 minutes per game and averaged 4.6 ppg. and 4.4 rpg. She was fifth on the team in rebounding and finished the season with more offensive rebounds (76) than defensive boardS (66).
“Joanie Mungro is a blue collar player. She comes to work every day in practice and games with a tremendous attitude and smile on her face. She is strong enough to compete with the best post players in the ACC.”
Erin Batth was Clemson’s starter at center last season and missed five games due to a knee injury. She made a courageous comeback and was a big factor in Clemson winning the ACC Championship last season. She finished the season averaging 7.6 ppg. and 5.0 rpg. Batth averaged 21.0 minutes per game.
“Erin Batth has the potential to be as good as any post player we have had in my tenure. She has size, speed, strength, skills and most importantly determination.”
“Nuria Forns has worked hard at becoming bigger, stronger, and faster through our strength training program. She is a very good three-point shooter and her most marked improvement has been her ability to shoot off the dribble.
Clemson added Jamine Moton to the roster. The 6-0 sophomore is a ACC shot put and discus champion on the Lady Tiger track squad.
“Jamine Moton will add a lot to our team. She will give us added depth in the post to give us the four-player rotation that we like to use in the post. Jamine is a member of the ACC Championship Track Team and the reigning ACC Champion in the shot put. Her strength will certainly help us with the physical play in the paint.”
One of the strengths of the 1999-00 Clemson women’s basketball team is depth in the backcourt.
Clemson will be led by seniors Angie Cossey and Amirah Leonard. Cossey played in 28 games last year and averaged 10.6 minutes per game and 2.4 ppg. Leonard played in all 32 games and averaged 10.4 minutes per contest while scoring 2.8 ppg.
“Both Angie Cossey and Amirah Leonard came to us from the JUCO ranks and made significant contributions in their first year at Clemson. They will be given early looks at the point and shooting guard positions.
“Cossey can score, period. She can break a game wide open with her three-point shooting. She has a quick first step which will enable her to break down defenses and get to the free throw line where she is really deadly.
“Leonard is best in the open court. She converts so quickly and she too made some big three-point baskets for us last year. She takes a lot of pride in her defensive play.”
Junior Andrea Gaines, who was a member of the Lady Tiger Track team last spring as a triple jumper, has showed marked improvement according to the coaching staff. Gaines saw action in 26 games and averaged 2.8 ppg.
“Andrea Gaines will play almost exclusively at the shooting guard position. She has shown flashes of brilliance during her career and will always give a great defensive effort. When she develops consistency, she will be vying for lots of minutes.”
Krystal Scott played in 27 games as a freshman and averaged 1.3 ppg. She averaged 5.7 minutes per game.
“Krystal Scott is the biggest and strongest of our perimeter players. She has the ability to score over people and the quickness to beat the defense with the dribble drive. I believe she can over power a lot of guards from opposing teams. She is versatile enough to play all three perimeter positions.”
Clemson signed three talented freshmen from South Carolina, Heather Crowe, Yoneko Allen and Chrissy Floyd. All three player were named All-State as voted by the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association. Allen and Floyd led Laurens High School to back-to-back state 4A championships at Laurens High School and Crowe starred at Wren High School.
Floyd averaged 16.6 ppg., and 7.5 rpg. her senior season at Laurens HS in Laurens, SC. Yoneko Allen averaged 18.7 ppg. and 5.6 rpg. at Laurens HS. Crowe averaged 20.5 ppg. and 10.4 rpg. her senior season.
“Heather Crowe is a “Amy Geren-like” player. She can shoot the basketball from downtown Tigertown. She is almost automatic from the free throw line and has worked extremely hard to gain the strength, speed,and quickness necessary to succeed at the Division I level.
“Yoneko Allen knows what it takes to be a champion. She can play either guard position and is a great shooter from the outside and penetrates and distributes the ball really well. She along with Chrissy will bring a championship attitude into our program coming off back-to-back state championships in South Carolina.
“Chrissy Floyd was a highly recruited player from Laurens, SC. She is capable of having an immediate impact to the success of our basketball team. She can dribble, pass, shoot, and defend.
Courtney Wittstruck is a newcomer as she transferred from San Jose State University.
“Courtney personifies the term ‘coach on the floor.’ Last year, she studied opponents and practiced each day against Itoro Umoh preparing for this season. She is hard nosed and determined.
“We are very deep in the backcourt and can play with many different combinations. We will have lots of looks at people and I think we will create matchup problems for our opponents.”
January 22, 2022