|Shirley Hill, Associate Director Athletic Communications
Hattiesburg, Miss. - Women’s Basketball Head Coach Joye Lee-McNelis announced the signing of Jolene Shipps of Stockton, Mo., to a national letter of intent and grant-in-aid scholarship for the 2016-17 academic year.
“We are excited to have Jolene join our Lady Eagle family,” McNelis said. “Jolene is a program builder. Jo possess all of the core values a coach wants in a student-athlete. She is a 4.0 student, goal oriented, passionate about being her best and possess an outgoing personality that all of our fans will love.”
Shipps, a 6-2 post player, spent one season at North Arkansas College where she averaged 19.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. She received NJCAA Division II first team All-American honors and All-Region II accolades.
“I am excited to announce that I will be joining the Lady Eagle program and plan to continue the Southern Miss traditions,” Shipps said. “I want to take full advantage of the opportunities that Southern Miss can provide to me through academics and athletics. The coaching staff and players at Southern Miss welcomed me with open arms and demonstrated to me what a family should look like.”
North Arkansas Head Coach Stacie Klott said, “Jolene has been a very big asset to our team and to our program. She is a great person, good student and a very good basketball player. She has improved her game this season, and I know she will continue to grow as a player and a person under Coach McNelis. She is a good post player with very good hands and footwork. She has great shooting range and can be a three-point threat.”
Shipps shot 55 percent from the field and 84 percent from the free throw line while averaging 2.7 assists and 1.1 blocked shots.
McNelis said, “Jolene has a solid skill set, and competitive edge that we believe will bring her much success at Southern Miss. Coach Klott has done a tremendous job in elevating her game to another level. It is our belief with the attributes and the foundation that was laid at Northark the sky will be the limit for Jolene.”
The Stockton, Mo., native was on the Dean’s list while leading the NJCAA tournament in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage. She had 15 games with 20 or more points including three games with 30 or more points. She scored a season-high 34 points versus Crowder College and had a season-high 19 rebounds against Kankakee Community College.
“She has experienced team and individual success at Northark and she will carry that with her to USM.” Said Klott. “We are happy for Jolene and we wish her much success in the next chapter of her life. She will always be a Northark Lady Pioneer!”
Shipps said, “I truly want to thank everyone who has been a part of my basketball journey thus far. My high school coach Kevin Burns and his family for believing in me and helping me start my success here at Northark. This past year has been one I will never forget and I am thankful for every moment I got to share with my team. I could not have reached the goals I did without my teammates and coaching staff.