Walker signs juco, prep guards to fill void

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2006

LORMAN &8212; It&8217;s not that Alcorn women&8217;s basketball coach Shirley Walker has lost faith in point guard Tanika Nunez.

She just wanted to find another player like her.

Walker hopes that what she&8217;ll get with Hinds Community College transfer Donmonique Thomas, a little taller than Nunez at 5-6 but can do just what the little sparkplug can do on the floor &8212; play either the point or the shooting guard slot.

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The signing gives the Lady Braves some much-needed experience in the backcourt where they don&8217;t have to rely so much on Nunez, who will be a junior when practices begin in October, for an offensive spark.

Thomas is one of four signees Walker announced Tuesday.

&8220;This will be a young lady who I think will be able to add a lot to the offense as far as getting the ball to people,&8221; Walker said. &8220;We won&8217;t rely on Nunez and put that much pressure on her. I like the way she handles the offense. She can see the floor.&8221;

It was the key area the veteran coach addressed after the season ended in the first round of the SWAC Tournament with an 11-16 record &8212; Walker&8217;s worst mark since the 1986-87 team finished 5-22. On a team that relied heavily on the inside presence of Rasaan Powell, the Lady Braves were inconsistent at guard.

Nunez was the team leader in steals (46), assists (75) but also turnovers (90). She also averaged 9.4 points a game, second behind Powell&8217;s 18.4. Nunez split time between the two guard slots while the Lady Braves used Precious Sheats, freshman Brittany Myatt, Tiffany Smith and Jaelyn Stringer to play alongside her.

Thomas, a native of Hollywood, Fla., may come in and solidify that spot quickly.

&8220;I&8217;m sure she will,&8221; Walker said. &8220;I don&8217;t like to count my chickens before they hatch, but all she&8217;s got to do is learn the system. The talent is there. We got the short end of the stick (last year) with guard play. I tried to go the juco route for experience.&8221;

Walker also dipped into the high schools to get shooting guard India Grimes out of Parkway High School in Shreveport, La., for depth at that spot. Grimes (5-6) may be suited more for the 2 than the point and could provide depth at that spot.

She&8217;s another shooter the team can use for next season, but she&8217;s also quick off the dribble.

&8220;She&8217;s quick and is going to add a lot to it because our system,&8221; Walker said. &8220;She&8217;s a very good defensive player. I liked her from the first few minutes I watcher her. I saw her over the Christmas tournament, and I saw her do some things I really liked.&8221;

Another guard Walker signed is 5-7 combo player Angel Dennis out of Franklin, La. She&8217;s the other standout player from the Franklin High School team that lost in the Class 3A state championship in March and won it all in 2005 and 2004.

Franklin standout guard Alexis Rack signed with Mississippi State during the early signing period.

Walker&8217;s fourth signee is post player Latessa Lee (5-9) out of Columbia High School. There she played for former Alcorn men&8217;s assistant coach Tony Woody, and she may come to Lorman and play small forward.