CLARKSDALE- Coahoma Women's Basketball program was recently shaken up. Walneika Holmes has signed to further her basketball career at Jackson State University, becoming the first woman basketball player from Coahoma to sign a scholarship to a Division I school since 1995.
Former Lady Tiger Tonya Norment preceded Holmes, playing Division I basketball at Jackson State University from 1995 to 1998. Tonya attended Coahoma Community College and played basketball from 1993 until 1995.
Coahoma Head Coach Stephanie Murphy and Assistant Coach Isaiah Butler are elated that "The Uprising" of CCC women's basketball has been seeing success in just one year. They know how hard Holmes has worked on and off the court to achieve her dreams.
"I think it's really a blessing. We wanted to do things the right way to instill the right type of values, character traits and life skills to prepare them for the next level," said Murphy. "Coahoma Women's Basketball is headed in the right direction. Walneika will be the first of many signees that will be coming from CCC."
Holmes had all of her support system in attendance, even her basketball coach from high school, Derrick Moore, who coaches at Coahoma County High School, came to show his support during this milestone.
"Walneika has been a winner since fourth grade," said Moore. "Records don't really mean anything but when she hits the floor, her attitude makes her a winner from day one."
Holmes is a hometown kid from Clarksdale, Miss. She came from a huge winning tradition at Coahoma County High School. However, she had to make several adjustments within her two years at CCC. As a freshman under former CCC Head Coach Danetra Forrest, she led the Lady Tigers with an average of 21 points per game.
Things changed for Holmes while going into her sophomore year when CCC brought in new head coach Stephanie Murphy. Holmes had to adjust her game and buy into a change in culture for CCC Women's Basketball. It took some time but Holmes bought into the change and the rest is history.
"It was a big transition for me. Different coaches have different work ethics," said Holmes. "Coach Murphy not only helps us to grow on the basketball court but help us individually to get ready for the outside world."
Holmes led the Lady Tigers to higher heights. She averaged 17 points and six rebounds per game this season. She also had seven games, scoring more than 20 points plus a season-high 29 points, three rebounds and three assists against Holmes Community College on January 17, 2019.
Holmes' hard work and determination also gained notice when she was selected to the All-Region 23 Women's Basketball Team and the All-State MACJC North first team.
CCC Women's Basketball Head Coach Stephanie Murphy already knew how much talent Holmes could bring to the table. She encouraged Holmes to become more diverse in her game. The hard work paid off as the Lady Tigers had seven wins in the regular season, the most in more than a decade.
Holmes upcoming matriculation to Jackson State comes in great timing. Jackson State came off an 18-14 season including a berth to the 2019 SWAC Conference Finals. Jackson State Head Coach Tomekia Reed knows a lot about Holmes and hopes that she's ready to help the Tigers advance to the next level.
Holmes found Coach Reed and the Jackson State environment to be just right for her next stop on the road to greatness. She hopes to continue her success on and off the court in Jackson, Miss.
"When I went to visit Jackson State, Coach Reed made me feel right at home," Holmes said. "She talked about how close she is to Jesus Christ. That really showed that we have a spiritual connection. I feel blessed and I owe it all to God."
Coach Murphy has huge expectations set for Holmes. She looks forward to watching Holmes make a huge impact at Jackson State and the SWAC Conference.
"She has no choice. It's called the 'Next Level' for a reason," said Murphy. "If she goes up there with the right mindset, works hard at practice, continues to be coachable and works hard on her defense, then she will help Jackson State to new heights and probably win the SWAC Championship."
Holmes' tremendous athleticism demonstrates Coahoma's commitment to hard work that will lead to more big wins in athletics. The Coahoma Community College Tiger family sends out huge congratulations to our Lady Tiger for a great Tiger Nation achievement!