Transfers lift Cougars’ front court
Senior forward Te’onna Campbell prefers a defensive stop to scoring points of her own.
Campbell has an aggressive, defensive mentality that was created through playing with bigger, stronger players when she began learning the game. The experiences toughened her defensive skills — when she started playing team sports, Campbell’s head coach required her to defend the opposing team’s best guard.
This year, Campbell’s ability to put the ball into the basket has helped the Cougars (3-4) win three of their last four games. Campbell is an integral part of the Cougars’ athletic front court, which includes three senior transfers.
After missing the first three games with a suspension, Campbell is UH’s leading scorer with 11.3 points per game. She uses her defensive skills to fuel herself on the offensive end.
“I enjoy getting a stop because it gives me the momentum to go finish a layup or to go get an and-1. Defense wins championships,” Campbell said. “Last year, I didn’t shoot that much, but I’ve got more confidence to shoot around the rim and take it to the basket.”
Campbell and senior forwards Destini Texada and Yasmeen Thompson will be important in scoring and rebounding as UH takes on Washington at Hofheinz Pavilion today. Thompson, Texada and Campbell provide a formidable front court because of their speed and athleticism, said head coach Todd Buchanan.
“(The three of them) provide us with a lot of versatility,” Buchanan said.
Texada’s journey to becoming a contributor for the team took more than a year. She had to sit out last season after transferring from HBU, but Texada is no stranger to time away from the game.
Texada tore her ACL twice, once each during her freshman and sophomore seasons in high school. She missed most of both seasons.
“Not to say I’m used to it, but I’m used to it. I just know that when I’m out, I gotta just work hard to get better,” Texada said.
But the time away from the court made her a better player, she said.
“My shot has become a lot more consistent. I know basketball better by sitting on the sideline and watching it,” Texada said. “And being right there with the coaches when they made decisions, I got better as far as knowing the game.”
Campbell said their experiences as transfer students forged a bond between the Cougars’ three leading rebounders.
“We all have our stories of transferring and talk about how it prepared us for the next level,” Campbell said. “The three of us, me, Destini and YT, have that hunger just to prove something because we weren’t here for all of our four years.”