Jones named 1st-team All-American
By ADAM HOLT
Garden City Community College all-time women's basketball leading scorer Tamara Jones can add one more accolade to her legacy after being named a first-team NJCAA All-American on Thursday.
Jones is believed to the the fourth Lady Broncbuster to earn All-America honors, and first since Chareka Terry was a second-teamer and Jasmine Irving an honorable mention in 2003.
"She just really has impacted our program and impacted the game in a lot of different ways," GCCC head coach Alaura Sharp said.
Jones is a two-time first-team All-Jayhawk West, and was the division player of the year after being named freshman of the year the previous season. She helped guide Garden City to a second-place finish in the division for the second straight year, and a pair of Region VI semifinal appearances. Jones helped lead the Busters to a 29-4 record this season, including a program-best 27 regular-season wins, and GCCC went 50-16 in her two seasons.
As a sophomore, Jones averaged 20.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, and was one of just three players nationally to average 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds. The 6-foot post also had an eight-game double-double streak to close the end of the regular season that spilled into GCCC's Region VI quarterfinal game.
The Prosser, Wash. native has 1,135 career points at GCCC, and surpassed Irving for the all-time mark in February. She led the division in scoring and rebounding, and was ninth in the nation in scoring.
Jones averaged just over 16 points and seven rebounds as a freshman, and improved in her second year, despite the Busters being a more well-rounded team.
"A lot of time you'll see people at the junior college level not come back their sophomore year and put up their same numbers as they did their first year," Sharp said. "You would think that someone who put up 16 points a game as a freshman, it would be tough for them to come out and do better, esepecailly on a more talented roster. And she found a way to score better and shoot the ball better from the 3-point line."
While not especially tall for her position, Jones was a tenacious rebounder, and an effective shot blocker. Part of what separated her from most other post players in the conference was her ability — and confidence — to shoot from anywhere on the floor. And while opponents focused on her scoring and rebounding, Jones was more than adequate handling and passing the ball.
"She finds a lot of different ways to impact the game besides scoring the ball," Sharp said. "The rebounding was something we really missed if she was ever in foul trouble, or had to have her on the bench."