By Conner Farrell–

As the 2017-18 basketball season tips off, women’s basketball team must fill voids from last season. Replacing graduated ball-handlers Briahanna Jackson and Taylor Johnson and transferred forward Mariya Moore will be a touch-and-go situation early on.

Enter sophomore Jazmine Jones.

The 6-foot wing, who appeared in all 37 games, was a spark plug off the bench for the 2016-17 team. Jones’ ability to create off the dribble and to be a slasher were evident throughout the season.

In her 20 minuts a game, Jones averaged 4.5 points. Her most notable performance of the season came in the first round of the NCAA tournament, notching 14 points on seven-of-eight shots.

Coach Jeff Walz expects a jump in production from Jones this season.

“(Jones) has worked on her ball-handling, her passing, her shooting. She looks like the kind of player that we anticipated when we recruited her,” Walz said.

Coming into Louisville, Jones was a highly coveted prospect from Tallahassee, Florida where she led her high school team to three straight 2-A State Championships. A two-time All-Big Bend Player of the Year in Florida, Jones was Florida’s Gatorade Player of the Year for girls’ basketball in 2015-16.

Not to be overshadowed by Jones’ offensive ability, her defensive prowess may be her calling card. With speed and quick hands, Jones should be able to defend the opposing team’s best perimeter player.

Jones also has the ability to crash the defensive glass. She gobbled up 67 defensive boards, averaging 2.6 per game.

Jones will not have to bear the brunt of the load as the team’s pillars are Myisha Hines-Allen and Asia Durr. Even so, it’s pivotal that Jones makes the ever so elusive sophomore leap.

Whether it be entering the starting line-up or reprising her role as an energy player off the bench, Jones will be a contributing force for the 2017-18 women’s basketball team.

You can follow Conner Farell on Twitter @ConnerFarrell9. 

Photo by Laurel Slaughter / The Louisville Cardinal