The 2012 Big State Flava Jam is loaded with top prep talent. These highlights include: DFW Elite, Essence, Arkansas Mavericks, Oklahoma A-1 Premiere, Pure Sweat Elite, Kansas Players and Team Maximize.
PHOTO GALLERY: Big State Flava Jam
Day one of pool play at the Big State Flava Jam brought out big-time players and big-time college coaches as the July viewing period officially opened. Among the elite head coaches in the gym were Muffett McGraw (Notre Dame), Vivian Stringer (Rutgers), Joanne P. McCallie (Duke), Dawn Staley (South Carolina), Sherri Coale (Oklahoma), Matthew Mitchell (Kentucky), Nikki Caldwell (LSU) and Andy Landers (Georgia) to name just a few. Coaches from dozens of other programs were also on hand checking out the talent on display.
In the premiere Marques Jackson Division, we made it a point to check out several of the favorites going into the tournament, among them the Arkansas Mavericks Durham, DFW T-Jack Elite, Essence Purple and Oklahoma A-1 Premiere Red. Here’s how each team fared on the first day of pool play.
Arkansas Mavericks Durham 48, Team Maximize 46
The Mavericks, who are loaded with BCS-level talent in Jessica Jackson, Imani Wright, Halle Washington and McKenzie Adams, got off to a slow start against Team Maximize out of Kansas. Poor shot selection and turnovers plagued the Mavs. Meanwhile, Katie Palmer of Team Maximize hit four three-pointers in the first half to boost her team to a 24-21 halftime lead.
The Mavericks opened the second with a run that put them up by as many as 12 points. Jackson led the way with 13 points for the Mavs. But Team Maximize wouldn’t go away. Palmer continued to score easily, finishing with a game-high 20 and Erika Lane, who showed the ability to handle the ball under pressure, added 12 points including a shot to tie the game at 46 with 30 seconds remaining. The deciding basket came on a free throw by Jamie Ruffins, allowing the Mavericks to escape with the 48-46 win.
DFW T-Jack Elite 62, Kansas Players 29
In their opening game, the hometown favorite DFW packed the stands and overflowed into the coaches’ section. The Kansas Players weren’t intimidated and went on the attack right away, knocking down some big threes and keeping DFW off balance with aggressive defense. To the surprise of many, Kansas trailed by just two at the half.
Ah, but the second half…. DFW came out with an entirely different level of intensity and applied a ferocious full court press. The change of pace quickly worked in their favor, as DFW jumped ahead by 10 points and never looked back. Brianna Turner went for 20 points, 14 of them in the second half, while demonstrating her ability to score in a variety of ways in the low post and knocking down the jumper from the top of the key. Most impressive, was her commitment to defense: Turner had multiple blocks and was very effective on the double team on the full court press.
Relina Johnson shined for Kansas with 10 points, including several back door layups that caught DFW sleeping. In the end, however, DFW outscored Kansas by 31 points in the second half for the 62-29 win.
DFW T-Jack Elite 57, Pure Sweat Elite 32
In the evening session, DFW faced a very well coached Pure Sweat Elite (PSE) out of Nashville. The first half was a battle of the "bigs" as 6-3 Sallie McCabe (2014) repeatedly scored in the paint despite the defensive efforts of DFW’s 6-4 Jada Terry (2013) and 6-3 Brianna Turner (2014). Terry eventually won the war, notching 12 points in the first half alone.
PSE kept it close until the four-minute mark of the first half when the DFW guards took over. The on-ball pressure of Roshunda Johnson and Diamond Lockhardt forced multiple turnovers and led to easy baskets on the other end, as DFW closed the first half with a 10-2 run that put them up by 14.
In the second period, DFW continued to put emphasis on defense with full-court pressure that Pure Sweat just couldn’t handle. DFW held PSE to 12 second-half points for the 57-32 win.
Essence Purple 47, Triple D Hoops 28
From the start, Triple D Hoops was no match for the fast pace of Essence Purple, the defending Flava Jam Champion. Essence put on a well-balanced attack, going deep into their bench, with nine out of 11 players scoring. Ieshia Small led the way for Essence with 12 points and Faith Woodward added nine.
It was the opposite for Triple D Hoops, who had just two players in the scoring column in the first half. By game's end, Triple D's Kaylin Roher had hit four three-pointers to finish with a game-high 15 points, but needed some help. Essence showed their ability on the defensive side of the ball, allowing just 12 second-half points by Triple D Hoops, and rolled to the 47-28 win.
Oklahoma A-1 Premiere Red 51, Houston Elite White 43
This match-up was dead even in the first half, but Oklahoma took control in the second stanza. Point guard Jessica Washington, who is committed to North Carolina, led the way for Oklahoma with 10 points and continued to prove that she can get to the rim with ease. Houston could do little to stop Washington who nudged her team to a 12-point lead in the second half. Still, it was a full team effort, as all 10 players scored for Oklahoma.
Ultimately, however, the game was settled at the free-throw line as Oklahoma sank 14-of-22 penalty throws, while Houston went eight-for-16 from the charity stripe. The disparity helped fuel a 51-43 win for Oklahoma.
The winners of those four games were joined by six other teams in the Marques Jackson Division who also went undefeated in pool play on day one: West Coast Premiere Black, DFW Elite North Willie, East Bay Xplosion Black 1, United Basketball, WP Celtics and DFW Marques Jackson Elite. For full scores, visit www.texasbigtymegirlssports.com
Talk about this article in our Forum