Jeryn Reese looks to regain scoring touch in senior season for La Salle women’s basketball | Season preview
The senior forward came to La Salle as a capable scorer, but struggled at first. Now, with a new coach, she hopes to take a step up.
If there was just one thing that Jeryn Reese always did on a basketball court, it was scoring.
As a senior at her Ohio high school, Reese averaged 19.5 points and went past 1,000 for her career.
In two seasons at Owens Community College in Ohio, the 6-foot forward was twice named all-Ohio Community College Athletic Conference and averaged 13.7 points and nearly 10 rebounds.
When Reese signed to play at La Salle for the 2017-18 season, the Explorers believed they had recruited a proven scorer who would add consistent points off the bench.
Things didn't go as planned.
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In her first season at La Salle, Reese averaged 11.5 minutes in 24 games. She averaged just 1.3 points and had a season high of four points on four occasions. After shooting better than 50 percent in her final season at the community college level, Reese shot just 37.8 percent in her first season of Division I.
The obvious question is: Was the jump in competition level too big for her?
"It was definitely an adjustment," Reese said. "My first year here was tough at the beginning. Obviously, from junior college to here, the girls are bigger and faster, but I expected that.
"As time went on, I got into it, and now I feel I'm settled in."
Reese is the first to concede she expected more from herself during her first season competing at an Atlantic 10 school.
But the dynamics of being a transfer student can be complicated. There were established players and turmoil with head coach Jeff Williams being in the final year of a contract that would not be renewed.
"I expected to be on the back-burner a bit because there were established players here as scorers," Reese said.
That won't be the case this season.
The Explorers have a new head coach in Philadelphia native Mountain MacGillivray and have lost their top three scorers from last season.
For Reese, it is the rare second chance to make a first impression.
"It's his first time meeting us and our first time meeting him," said Reese, who is suddenly the lone returning senior, "but everybody loves Coach Mountain.
"He just brings something different. The atmosphere is just better. I feel there is more positive vibes. I feel like the players and the coaches really mesh well together."
A new coach generally means new opportunities for players to earn bigger roles, and Reese said she is looking forward to that.
"It's a level playing field for everybody on the team," she said. "I feel it is perfect timing for me honestly. I get to prove myself and make an impression on [MacGillivray] and show him what I'm capable of, which is a good thing."
"That's a good thing for all of the girls on the team."
So far, Reese said that MacGillivray has run a system that gives players more freedom to take shots.
"He wants everybody to be a shooter," Reese said. "Last year, everybody had a role, but Coach Mountain wants everybody to be able to play every role and do everything on the court.
"If you can shoot it, then shoot. If you can dribble, then dribble. As long as you make good decisions, he doesn't want you to hold back.
"That's more relaxing for a player. It's less thinking about stuff and getting more into the flow of the game. If a good shot comes to you, take it. That's how I'm used to playing."
Scoring is something Reese could always do, and she wants to show she can do it at La Salle.