Coming from Baltimore, Maryland, senior forward Mia Davis frequently played alongside transfer guard Jada Graves, an Alexandria, Virginia native, at various basketball camps and on Amateur Athletic Union teams in high school.
During the offseason, Davis spent some time talking to and recruiting Graves, Davis said.
Graves chose Temple University because of her history with Davis, she said. She transferred from Elon University after last season where she averaged 5.3 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game.
“I may have even guarded her, that’s how I got to know her,” Davis said. “She told me she was looking to play another year as a grad student, so I hit her up and introduced her to Temple.”
Davis and other upperclassmen on the team were responsible for helping out the freshman and transfer players get acclimated during the summer, said head coach Tonya Cardoza.
“For some people, that’s uncomfortable being thrown into the mix as a freshman and you’re on a Zoom call,” Cardoza added. “I feel like a lot of the upperclassmen have taken the new guys under their wing and made them feel really comfortable.”
Davis helped set up a virtual tour over Zoom for Graves, who was looking at transfer options in April, Graves said.
“It would have obviously been easier if I could have toured the school in person,” Graves added. “But, I had to work with what I had.”
On March 7, Temple’s women’s basketball team played their final game of the 2019-20 season. Just days later, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the country to go into lockdown and NCAA to cancel all tournaments.
During the summer, Davis bought basketballs at Walmart to practice dribbling in her driveway when gyms were closed, she said.
This year might be harder for new players to get to know their teammates because they can’t “hang out like they normally would” with the team only doing workouts, Cardoza said.
Their team is now back on campus, participating in basketball activities, but with limited access to coaches. They were playing pickup games to “get in the flow” of playing basketball, but have since stopped due to the increase in COVID-19 cases on campus, Cardoza said.
“We’re just trying to make sure they understand what is going on, taking care of their bodies and making sure that they’re able to express themselves if they need to,” Cardoza added.
For the players, it is just nice to be back on the court playing basketball again, Davis said.
“I’m excited to finally get back out there,” Davis added.