Friday, October 19, 2012

University of Memphis women's basketball freshmen ready to thrive

article from 

It wasn't long after Arlington's loss in the TSSAA Class AAA sectionals last March that point guard Ariel Hearn began preparing for her career at the University of Memphis.

Her father, Sultaire Hearn, told her she needed to bulk up to handle the rigors of college basketball. So Hearn immediately jumped in the weight room.

"I started lifting weights on my own and I gained a couple of pounds," Hearn said.

She wasn't alone. The Tigers' five freshmen all reported to campus this summer in shape and prepared to handle whatever strength and conditioning coach Mike Jenkins threw at them.

"All of them pretty much came in every day for the voluntary 6:30 a.m. workout and really worked hard all summer," Jenkins said. "The new girls I'm really excited about because they're a good, hardworking crew. This is the best, hardest-working group of ladies that we've had since we've been here, for sure. They show up on time, and they work hard and have put themselves in position to where they're going to do well on the court."

Freshman shooting guard Mooriah Bowser, of Rockville, Md., knew she needed to add to her slender 5-9 frame. So she hired a personal training to assist with her weight lifting and running regimen before reporting to Memphis.

"I wanted to be in shape coming into college," Rowser said. "I knew it was going to be a different type of speed, different type of strength, so I wanted to start early, especially being my size."
Jenkins' summer workouts consisted of running the campus parking garage and around the track. In the weight room, the workouts featured Olympic power lifting, hand cleans and power cleans, as well as biometrics and change-of-direction agility drills.

Jenkins was quickly impressed with the work ethic of the newcomers.

"That's very uncommon," he said. "A lot of times, they don't know how to work. I really credit (junior Bilqis Abdul Qaadir) and (senior) Nicole (Dickson), as upperclassmen, to kind of show them that that's just the way we do it. We don't go easy. We go hard."

When it was time for the preseason fitness test, all but a couple of players passed the initial test. During the retake a couple of weeks later, everyone completed the test.

"This team was obviously committed to become better in the summer, or they couldn't have shown up ready to do that," coach Melissa McFerrin said.

The Tigers, coming off a 25-8 season, will play Rhodes College in an exhibition game Nov. 3 at Elma Roane Fieldhouse. They open the regular season at home Nov. 9 against Grambling State in the preseason WNIT.

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