Janay Morton scored nearly 1,500 points, grabbed 400 boards, amassed over 250 assists, and made 234 three-pointers during her collegiate basketball career. The Brooklyn Park native has been an assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of Jamestown (ND) for the past two seasons, where her duties included player development head with the guards and managing the team operations.
During a recent interview Morton, asked if she’d finally hung up her sneakers for good in exchange for a coach’s whistle, said “Once I hung them up, I hung them up.” Earlier this month, Morton accepted an offer from Minnesota State Head Coach Emilee Thiesse to join the Mavericks women’s basketball coaching staff as an assistant coach.
“Emilee reached out to me,” recalled Morton of Thiesse, whose sister is Nebraska WBB Coach Amy Williams. Morton played for Williams in her senior season during which she made Academic All Big Ten in 2018 and earned her degree in psychology as well. “I trust Coach Williams and I trust Emilee,” she said. “The [Mankato] campus visit just confirmed it even more.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about the addition of Janey Morton to our Maverick basketball family,” said Thiesse in a press statement. “She is a very hard worker who is eager and passionate about developing players to reach their goals. She is a wonderful person and we know that she will have a lasting impact on the players in our program.”
Her two seasons in Jamestown prepared her well for her new position, said Morton. “I was doing a lot of things, a lot of the operational side of things outside of basketball,” she pointed out, adding that Jamestown Head Coach Thad Sankey “was willing to help me grow” as a coach.
Gender inequities spur change
The NCAA Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee has held regular virtual meetings since the NCAA tournament in March, when gender inequities were exposed that later initiated an external gender equity review. They are “dedicated to moving quickly to bring positive changes to the sport of women’s basketball,” Chair Lisa Campos said in an NCAA press release.
The topics the group has been discussing include developing a holistic men’s and women’s collegiate basketball branding strategy and a potential use of March Madness marketing for both sports.
The current international three-point line (22 feet, 1¾ inches) will be used in WBB beginning the 2021-22 season. The Women’s Basketball Rules Committee proposed the change after studying statistical trends from last season that showed an all-time high in all three divisions in three-point shot attempts and makes.
Women’s Division I teams attempted 16.4 treys per game last season and made an average of 6.1 shots behind the former 20 feet, 9 inches arc. Division II teams averaged 20.5 three-point field goal attempts and made an average of 6.4 treys. In Division III it was 19.3 and 5.7 respectively.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.