Booneville, Miss. - Cherelle Jones opened her career with the Northeast Mississippi Community College women's basketball program with the first of what could be many stellar performances in the post.
Jones recorded a double-double in her debut with the Lady Tigers, which ended in a 109-56 loss to nationally ranked Shelton State (Ala.) Community College on Monday, November 6 at historic Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
Jones tallied team-high totals of 13 points and 10 rebounds during Northeast's initial contest of the 2017-18 campaign. She was 4 of 7 from the field and 5 of 9 from the charity stripe as well.
"I just came to play," said Jones. "No one wants to lose, but we're going to practice and work harder and we'll come back from this loss. We're going to go out there and play our game."
Aundrea Adams finished just behind Jones with 12 points in her first game as a sophomore. She has now reached double figures in 22 out of 27 outings during her tenure with the Lady Tigers.
The Lady Buccaneers, who reached the Final Four of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I National Tournament and are the preseason No. 3 ranked team in the country, outscored Northeast in each quarter.
Shelton State scored 19 of the initial 21 points of the contest. Tyra Tucker accounted for the Lady Tigers' first points of the new year with a basket that was assisted by Dayzsha Rogan less than two minutes into the matchup.
Former Dandy Dozen selection Adallice Young connected on Northeast's inaugural three-pointer this season, which at the time cut the Lady Buccaneers' lead to 26-12 with 2:11 left in the first quarter.
Shelton State (3-0) took a 32-14 lead following the first and expanded it to 51-31 by halftime. The Lady Tigers played perhaps their best period in the second with Young chipping in four points and Jada Tubbs adding an old-fashioned three-point play.
The Lady Buccaneers capped the third quarter with an 18-0 run to increase their advantage to 83-43. Adams finally closed what proved to be a five-minute scoring drought for Northeast with a bucket with 6:35 remaining in the game.
"We grew up a lot in this game," Lady Tigers head coach Brenda Mayes said. "I want them to understand there are some positives even in a loss like that. You take your positives and build on that and then the negatives you improve on that."
Ten freshmen officially made their first appearance in a Northeast (0-1) uniform. Of those, Young and Rogan were in the starting lineup along with the Lady Tigers' three sophomores in Adams, Tubbs and Tucker.
Young notched seven points to place second among Northeast's newcomers behind only Jones. Rogan compiled a solid stat line with four points, six rebounds and five assists to her credit.
The Lady Tigers outrebounded Shelton State by a 50-44 clip. Northeast shot 31.7 percent from the floor and 70 percent at the free throw line with LaJayla Turnage guiding that effort with four makes in as many attempts.
"I think that they saw at spurts throughout the game what we could actually do once we get it together," said Mayes. "Our timing was off just a bit. We've just gotta fix it. They're going to get better."
The Lady Tigers continue their three-game home stand to begin the season on Thursday, November 9 versus Lawson State (Ala.) Community College. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the City of Hospitality.