TSU Lady Tigers basketball is in its second year under the leadership of Coach Jessica Kern. There were some growing pains in Kern’s first season at Tennessee State, but with a good nucleus returning, talented freshmen joining the team, and OVC Player of the Year candidate Tia Wooten returning for her senior season, there was optimism for improvement after last year’s 6-21 season.
Kern’s second season may not have started as well as she hoped – the Lady Tigers were 0-14 – with two conference losses to Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State. Even though the Lady Tigers were playing better basketball, with the tougher competition during the pre-conference schedule, there were no wins to show for it. With the tougher competition though, there was eventually a breakthrough on the horizon and on January 10, the breakthrough finally came with a resounding 60-38 win over Eastern Kentucky.
And in the last five games, the Lady Tigers have won three and seem to be finding their stride at the right time. As for what has changed over time, one thing stands out to Coach Kern. “We are totally healthy for the first time this year and that in itself is half the battle.”
The Lady Tigers have been dealing with injuries to Tia Wooten, Taylor Roberts, and others all season long and have continued to plow their way through it with no excuses made.
Another thing that should be factored into the team’s progress is Coach Kern’s vision for the Lady Tigers. She has often spoken of wanting the Lady Tigers to be a “positionless” team where everyone can play every position. And with the return of redshirt sophomore Cebria Outlow, that vision has become closer to reality. The redshirt sophomore has averaged 14.4 points over the last five games and has been big in helping that positionless formation Kern designed.
“She is very difficult to defend, can defend all five positions and is an immediate burst of energy on the court!” notes Kerns.
The season didn’t start as well as the team may have liked, but now it seems they have found themselves and as far as the outlook on the season, the goal has stayed the same: “The sky is the limit, we are walking by faith and the belief in each other.” The coach adds, “OVC Tournament is our goal and the young women are giving their all to get there.”
The Lady Tigers go for their fifth win of the season on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. as they take on the Belmont Lady Bruins during Metro Schools Kid’s Day.