Gracie Jones to play for Delta State

By JASON PATTERSON,

Gracie Jones has had an outstanding high school basketball career at Manchester Academy, and now she will have an opportunity to compete for one of the best Division II college teams in the nation.

Jones has signed to play for Delta State University after a senior season where she earned MAIS All-Star honors and helped lead the Lady Mavericks to a record season.

Lady Statesmen head coach Craig Roden said he believes Jones is the kind of player who can be developed into a successful college basketball player.

“We love her tenacity,” Roden said. “Her work ethic is unmatched.”

Roden said he was impressed with Jones’ performance at Manchester, and he looks forward to watching her continue to improve on the next level.

“We think her best basketball days are ahead of her,” Roden said. “We see her playing an important role on our basketball team.”

Delta State’s Lady Statesmen basketball team has a tradition of excellence dating back to legendary coach Margaret Wade, who led the program to three national titles and earned the highest winning percentage (.789) of all time in women’s college basketball before retiring in 1979, In 1986 she became the first woman and first women's coach to be inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Head coach Lloyd Clark led the Lady Statesmen to three Division II national titles in 1989, 1990 and 1992. During Clark’s 19 years at the helm of the Lady Statesmen basketball program, Clark guided teams to the NCAA tournament 16 times. Eleven of those years DSU advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.

DSU women’s basketball continues the winning tradition today. The Lady Statesmen regularly compete for the Gulf South Conference title.

Roden led the Lady Statesmen to the school’s 16th Gulf South Conference title in 2015-16.