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Green guides Newman into first

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, at 12:05 a.m.

What Newman women's basketball coach Jaime Green asks of her team, essentially, is that they ask a lot of themselves.

She expects them to work hard in the classroom and on the court.

And, as has been the case this year, sometimes she just wants them to be tough. The Jets, at 11-6 overall and 2-0 in Heartland Conference play, have responded in kind.

"We don't even have time to wipe away tears," Green said. "Mainly because I don't want to be sitting home in March."

There was potential for tears — plenty of them — after her team's best player, Kellindra Zackery, tore her anterior cruciate ligament on Nov. 12 against East Central (Okla.) in the Jets' first game of the year.

Zackery, a 6-foot-1 senior forward, was an NJCAA All-American last year for Green at Labette Community College and turned down an offer from Texas El-Paso to follow Green to Newman.

Zackery won't know if she's been approved for a medical redshirt until after the season.

"We were all excited to see what Kellindra could do," Green said. "She's the type of player that can turn a good team into a great team."

Zackery's injury forced the Jets to change course in a hurry.

"It seems like we had a group that was okay with being followers," Green said. "And now they had to become leaders. We kept reminding them it wasn't how we started it was going to be how we finished."

No one has stepped up to the challenge more than 5-foot-8 junior Tasha Cannon, a transfer from Coffeyville Community College.

Cannon averages 13.6 points, leads the team at 8.5 rebounds and routinely guards players four or five inches taller than her.

"Tasha is everything we want out of a player," Green said. "She plays with heart and she is consistent. The stats don't lie."

Saturday, the Jets host St. Edward's at 12:30 p.m. in a nationally televised game on the CBS College Sports Network. Admission is free.

Check Tony Adame's small-college blog at blogs.kansas.com/statecolleges. Reach him at 316-268-6284 or tadame@wichitaeagle.com.

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