2021 Lady Monarch Basketball Preview

By Noah Fort, Associate Sports Editor

Originally published October 18, 2021.


The Old Dominion University Women’s Basketball team will be returning to the court in

just a few weeks. Last season was a bit rocky for the Monarchs. They were among the many basketball teams that had to deal with issues pertaining to COVID-19 and an adjustment to a new staff and coaching system, both offensively and defensively.


Despite last season, the ODU Women’s Basketball team, coached by DeLisha Milton-Jones, plans to bounce back. The Monarchs made their presence known with a dominating performance in the C-USA tournament, bulldozing their way through to the semifinals with just eight players. They are a team to watch out for as they have ten newcomers and five returnees.


In addition, from the offseason that they had, we can expect great things this season according to Coach Jones and several players. When asked about the change in scenery to their roster, Coach Jones sees a lot of potential. “I expect the team chemistry to be in a very unified state and it will start with the mindset I establish with the team. We will focus solely on being of service to one another on and off the court. This establishes unity and will serve us well in our quest for Championships,” Milton-Jones stated.


Among the newcomers this season is Junior Kaye Clark. She is a junior guard coming from Trinity Valley Community College, playing a total of 51 games in which she averaged 11.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. Moreover, she is an excellent sharpshooter as she shot .381 from deep. When asked what player will surprise everyone, Milton-Jones named Kaye Clark. “Kaye Clark will surprise everyone this year with her explosive play. She’s gonna be fun to watch,” Milton-Jones mentioned.


In terms of what she saw of her players during the offseason, Coach has very high hopes and is confident in every player. “My hopes and expectations are that we can fully live up to our potential. We have a talented roster filled with high quality players that can affect the game very well offensively and defensively. Our fans should expect to see intense defense and aggressive offense displayed nightly,” Milton-Jones stated.


Another key asset added to the ODU roster is Graduate student Iggy Allen. Not only is she a newcomer, but a First Team All-Conference USA and C-USA All-Defensive Team player. Iggy is a transfer from Florida Atlantic University. She averaged 22.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, setting program records. This led to her earning 11 doubles-doubles, getting her ranked 35th in the nation in terms of double-doubles. On top of this, she had a three-point percentage of .388.


Not only does she come here to make a difference, but she also comes here to have an impact. Iggy believes that she can bring being a great teammate to other members of the team, uplifting everyone when things are going good and when things aren’t going their way. She plans to bring her physicality and skills as well because that’s the game of basketball. “It’s more about the mentality in this game of basketball, everything physical like scoring, rebounding, and steals are going to happen because that’s just what I bring everyday,” Iggy mentioned.


Fans are also an important aspect to the game for Iggy. She is excited to have fans back, as the Monarch community brings the energy the team needs. “I am excited to see the fans, I’m new here so I’m looking to greet them with open arms and the energy being returned. Fans play a huge role in a game, they control the energy other than the teams, it’s so important that we make them proud this year,” Iggy stated. She is a great addition because she’ll also be teaming up with Seniors Ajah Wayne and Amari Young. This could potentially form a big three for the Monarchs, as Wayne and Young also averaged double-doubles last season and are team leaders.


Ajah averaged 15.5 points and nearly 10 rebounds with an average of 9.7. Ajah is a very talented and skilled player that has played a huge role. Moreover, she is a team leader. “As a leader, my job is to empower my team through wins and losses. Make sure I am always vocal and giving my 100 percent effort all the time so I can lead by actions and vocally, Shooting the ball and doing whatever I have to do to contribute to a conference championship,” Ajah stated.


Amari averaged 13.6 points and 11.2 rebounds. She is dominant on the board’s night in and night out and scores at any given time. She is very competitive and provides the Monarchs with everything that they need as she puts on a clinic. With her dominating performance last season, we can expect to see great things out of her this season. “You can expect to see me give my best effort every game. However, of course my end goal is to average a double-double this season and even exceed that,” Amari stated.


When it comes to what fans can expect out of the team, she provided “You can expect us to come out and compete every game. It’s going to be fun to watch us this year. We have plenty of talent and skill. We’re going to play fast and play hard every game. Our goal this year is to win the conference and compete in the NCAA tournament.”


Head Coach Milton-Jones believes that the Monarchs will be a threat in the C-USA this season and will thrive with player’s Iggy Allen, Ajah Wayne, and Amari Young. Along with her player’s Iggy Allen, Ajah Wayne and Amari Young. The home opener for the Lady Monarchs will be against Christopher Newport University on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 6:30p.m. in Chartway Arena.