Trio of freshmen taking lumps early in career for Mavericks
Alaina Brennan, Ashley Davis and Jennifer Landers decided to come to Mesa State
College in part to play basketball right away in their first year.
The three freshmen are getting that opportunity and although the Mavericks (4-17, 1-12 RMAC) have struggled, they’re learning and hope to make the most of the rest of the season. Mesa State hosts Western State at 6 tonight and Western New Mexico at 6 p.m. Thursday at Brownson Arena.
“It’s been a great learning experience,” Landers said. “Obviously, its been a rough season, but you have to stick together if you want to get through anything.”
The 5-foot-8 guard from Plainview, Texas, has started 20 of the 21 games this season and is second on the team in minutes played with 26.5 per game. She is averaging 5.5 points a game.
Mesa State coach Timi Brown was able to lure Landers away from Hawaii and Missouri because of the opportunity to play right away.
“It was flattering to have Division I coaches talk to you, but when it came down to it, I didn’t want to wait to play,” Landers said. “Coach Brown told me I’d have a chance to play a lot.”
Brown was aware of Landers through her connections while coaching junior college ball in Texas.
“Jennifer came from one of the best high school programs in the state,” Brown said.
“She was heavily recruited. She is one of the most coachable kids I’ve had. She’ll do anything with no questions asked. She wants to get better. She has a great future.”
Brennan and Davis haven’t played as much as Landers, but Brown believes their futures are bright as well.
“Ashley is very athletic,” Brown said. “There are a few things she needs to develop.
She’s worked hard on her game. She’s going to be a very good player if she continues to work.”
Davis, a 6-1 forward from Evanston, Wyo., was a regular Mesa State summer camp attendee with her high school team, but didn’t think she’d end up here until she came for a visit in the spring of her senior year.
“It’s been a good learning experience especially with the way the season’s been going,” she said. “I’m going to take on more leadership next year and make sure events don’t occur like this again. I like the girls and the school.”
Davis has started six games and is averaging 4.1 points in 14.5 minutes a game.
Brennan opened the season scoring 14 and 16 points in the first two games, earning her two starts the following weekend. She is averaging 4.2 points in 12.9 minutes a game.
“I think Alaina will develop into a good player,” Brown said. “She has a good mid-range game. She is physically strong which allows her to finish in traffic. She’s competitive.
She just needs to improve her shooting and ball handling.”
Brennan, who is also playing softball, was a Central grad and stayed home for Mesa’s nationally recognized nursing program.
She is learning as much on the court as she is in school.
“The freshman year is crucial in learning the system and college style,” Brennan said. “I think the main reason for our fall was our inability to change and deal with hardship along the way. When something bad happened, we don’t learn from it.”
All three hope to be a part of rebuilding the Mavericks program into a RMAC championship contender again.