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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sports

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Guard embraces new role


When most people think about the offseason they instantly think of time for rest and renewal. For Jasmine Johnson, a junior guard on the UH women’s basketball team, this summer was anything but relaxing.

Coming off a year when she helped the Cougars go 20-12, including 11-5 in Conference USA play, Johnson suffered a labral tear of her hip, which meant a summer of long rehab. Now 100 percent healthy, Johnson is looking forward to a year of high expectations and dreams of NCAA and C-USA tournament runs.

‘Everyone is coming back except for two people,’ Johnson said. ‘We’re really experienced and (we have) our chemistry. We finished second in the conference last year, so I think we have a better shot at getting that ring.’

Johnson came to UH on an athletic scholarship and wanted to study architecture. Three years later, that has changed, but Johnson continues to be the same person she was when she came from Omaha.

‘I still miss it. I’m a big family person, and I have a little 8-year-old brother (who) I miss because I can’t see him grow up,’ Johnson said, though she added that her parents have been nothing but supportive.

In her third year on the team, Johnson takes her role as a leader seriously and is more understanding than ever of her role on the team.

‘My role will start defensively,’ Johnson said. ‘But it’s all about communication on the floor, period. So my role is just to be a positive asset to my teammates and communicate with them at all times.’

Perhaps more than that, Johnson understands that some things are bigger than basketball. Her favorite moment in her college career had nothing to do with individual success.

‘My coach (head coach Joe Curl) had a heart attack,’ Johnson said. ‘When he came back, that was really exciting to me. It was really emotional for us as a team because we went through changes as far as our coaching staff, and just knowing he was OK and that he made it ‘hellip; that was a real memorable moment for me.’

Now, Johnson’ has high hopes for the team and thinks they have what it takes to get to the NCAA tournament.

‘I feel like we’re going to be a small team, but also a fast team and everybody who returned knows what to expect,’ Johnson said. ‘You want to make sure your own team is developing right. If you’re perfecting your offense and defense everything else will come.’

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