NEWCOMERS: The freshman class includes Kensey Hall, Tatum Beer, Kathleen Moroney, ReShawndra Jackson and Kara Vaughn.
GTR Newspapers photo
Charlene Thomas-Swinson, who put the Tulsa women’s basketball program on the national stage during her rookie season at TU, is in her third season as the head women’s basketball coach for the Golden Hurricane.
TU’s record dipped last year, and Thomas-Swinson did not waste time over the off-season to try to regain the winning edge by bringing in six players including four freshmen and two transfers. The team will be one of the youngest in the nation, with only one senior, one junior, four sophomores and five freshmen.
The 2007 freshman class includes Tatum Beer, Kensey Hall, ReShawndra Jackson, Kathleen Moroney and Kara Vaughan, while Erika Ferrell and Chanel Jones-Delas are junior college transfers.
“We are very excited that these six women have chosen to be at Tulsa,” Thomas-Swinson says. “I believe these women are a good nucleus of talent. They are willing to work hard both on the court and in the classroom, and that is the direction we are taking in regards to our student-athletes. We look forward to having them on our squad this season and the immediate impact they will have on our team.”
The new players will join veterans Larissa Williams, Teka Brooks and Destanie Gardner. The 2006 Conference USA Coach of the Year, Thomas-Swinson has a 37-25 mark at Tulsa and is the only coach in school history to guide the program to conference titles and to the NCAA Tournament.
Instead of taking a passive approach to a team with 38 wins over the previous two seasons, Thomas-Swinson immediately made TU better with the installment of the triangle offense and a match-up zone she learned during her playing and coaching days at Auburn under legendary coach Joe Ciampi.
Thomas-Swinson became the first coach in school history to lead the Hurricane to a conference regular season and tournament title, and she guided TU to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and postseason win. Tulsa posted a school record 26-6 overall mark and a first-place finish of 13-3 in C-USA play.
Thomas-Swinson put TU in the national spotlight with its 71-61 upset over fifth-seeded North Carolina State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and lost a narrow 71-67 decision to 13th-ranked DePaul in the second round on the Demons’ home floor.