Brainard Leading New Look Lady Lions

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) - After the 2013-14 season ended, Louis Whorton made a decision to completely overhaul his coaching style. The long time UA Fort Smith women's coach decided to go back to his previous style.

Despite being told it wouldn't work in division II, he did it anyway.

"For years people have been saying you can’t press and run in division II and we’ve just decided the heck you can’t," Whorton said. "We decided we’re going to go back to vintage Lady Lion basketball where we’re playing 10 or 12 people where we’re pressing and running every night."

Whorton had years of success with that style of play at the junior college level so he went out and loaded up with junior college transfers to jump start the program. Jasmine Brainard was one of those transfers and she's thrived in the system.

"Most of the new people were junior college players so the transition from playing two years at a different school and then coming to a different style of basketball was different but then we all just came together and play really well together," Brainard said.

Brainard is one of seven junior college transfers on the UAFS roster and has emerged as the team's leading scorer at more than 15 points a game but it's her defense, including 32 steals, that leads the way.

"She has great anticipation," Whorton said. "It looks like she’s just standing there and all of a sudden she’ll shoot the passing lane and get a layup and that’s where she gets a lot of her shots."

"Coach Whorton pounds us with the press offense and every team we get them with our press, 44 defense and pressuring them," Whorton said. "It’s all we do."

UAFS is currently in line to host the Heartland Conference tournament as they have a two game lead among postseason eligible teams in the conference with eight games left on the schedule.