SHERIDAN — Raise the count to four Sheridan girls on the Wyoming Cowgirls roster.
Sheridan College sophomore Jasmine Davis will sign to transfer to the University of Wyoming this afternoon, and the New Zealand native will become the second Lady General in as many years to join the Cowgirls.
Davis represents perhaps the most interesting story out of the four. Her path wasn’t an easy one. She tore her ACL after playing in just four games for the Lady Generals as a freshman, displaced thousands of miles from home.
“It was hard mentally, just to get back to playing without thinking about it,” she said Tuesday afternoon. “I’m just happy that I still get to go D1 after the injury.”
That has been a dream of hers since she was young, to play Division 1 basketball, one that started with simply getting to the United States. Naturally, she was always a bit skeptical.
“It was always kind of a long-shot,” she said. “Coming to America is a big thing. It was huge last year to see some of my friends getting D1 offers. I like Wyoming,” she said of the different culture. “Of course it’s really different, but I also have friends that were on the team last year. It will be good because I know people down there. Fallon has told me good things about Wyoming and I trusted her because she’s a good player.”
Tongue River High School graduate Fallon Lewis joined the Cowgirls this year after her two-year contribution to the Lady Generals. Lewis fit right in, helping Wyoming off the bench and averaging 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. She played in 31 games this season.
Davis heads to Wyoming along with Sheridan High School senior Hailey Ligocki on Cowgirls 2013 recruiting class. And of course, there’s Cowgirls leader Kayla Woodward as well. It remains to be seen how the two newest additions will pan out in Laramie, but there’s one person who has no doubt she’ll be fine: SC coach Frank McCarthy.
“She’s always had that goal of getting to that Division 1 level, and that’s why she came here,” McCarthy said. “Joe (Legerski) and Gerald (Mattinson), they’re really good coaches and they’ll really help her get better.
“Little things like being a good teammate and a good student go hand in hand. She’s really coachable, and being a point guard that’s important.”
Davis ran the Lady Generals offense from the point guard position in 2012-13, helping them to a NJCAA ranking that lasted for the final 10 weeks of the season. Sheridan College also won the North sub-region IX title.
Wyoming wanted her for her size and her ranged shooting ability she displayed from the floor general spot at SC, allowing her to perhaps play shooting guard or even the 3-spot in Laramie.
Plus, her play this season didn’t suggest any signs of a lingering injury. At times one of the strongest players on the court, Davis averaged 10.3 points, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals, playing in an unselfish Lady Generals offense that often posted a different leading scorer every night.
“She’s just a great teammate and a hard worker, and that’s evidenced by her rehab back from her ACL (injury),” McCarthy said. “It’s a long process, and that’s really a testament to her hard work here and back home to get back on the court.”
ACL tears come with one of the toughest rehabilitation processes in sports, and there was always the chance that she’d return home for good. She’s from Petone, Wellington, New Zealand, a suburb of the larger city of Lower Hutt on the country’s southernmost peninsula.
But Davis reiterated that she liked Wyoming, with McCarthy noting dedication to her schoolwork from the time she got to Sheridan as something he felt helped her in the long run.
Davis is the third player the Lady Generals have sent Division 1 in the last three years, and she credited her coach at the JUCO level, saying McCarthy helped her on and off the court, especially in preparing her for D1.
This spring, she narrowed her options to The University of Idaho and Wyoming before choosing the Cowgirls. She wanted the best possible program and she liked their systems.
McCarthy, who coached at Montana State before coming to Sheridan, prepares his players with the intent of sending them of to bigger basketball opportunities. That was easy with Davis, even from day one, her 5’9” frame and skills off the dribble were easily molded into an enticing product for a team that’s threatened atop the Mountain West Conference for the past few years, finishing 12-4 in league play this year. She gives a Wyoming a boost at the guard position after two of its contributors left the school this spring.
“I’m just really excited for a girl that reaches her goal,” McCarthy said. “To actually see the dream come true is really exciting. Sometimes kids will work like crazy but not get the opportunity.
“It’s nice for someone to put the work in and have that become a reality. She deserved it.”