MSU women’s coach: ‘Representation matters’

Janay Morton
Photo by Charles Hallman

Sports Odds & Ends

Sitting on the Minnesota State women’s basketball team bench, Janay Morton can’t be missed. The Brooklyn Park native is in her second season as the second assistant coach.

“I think just being more patient and a little less result-oriented,” said Morton of her strategy after her team’s Dec. 31 victory at Concordia St. Paul. Her family and friends also were there to see her and her team.

Morton became a coach a few years ago after a college playing career at Eastern Michigan (three seasons) and a season at Nebraska where she finished with 1,486 points, 400 rebounds, 255 assists, 243 steals and 234 made three-pointers, as well as a bachelor’s degree in psychology.  

Coaching later became a natural progression for Morton, always a student of the game. She was the head of player development with the guards and managed the team operations at the University of Jamestown women’s basketball team for two seasons before being hired by MSU Head Coach Emilee Thiesse.

“I work for an incredible staff,” continued Morton. “Emilee Thiesse and [assistant] Amy Sander—they’re vets. They have so much basketball knowledge and wisdom, and so I just try to soak it all in, then go and do my part as well.”

Morton is a proud Black woman, a Black coach at a PWI program in Mankato. She admitted it’s a blessing to be where she is.

“You just got to be yourself,” stressed Morton, “when you are the minority. If you try to kind of conform or box yourself into the environment that you’re in, you don’t push things forward. People can’t learn from you.

 “It’s been an inspiration to players as well, and other teams to see that. Representation matters. I try to hold myself to the highest character always.”

Her growth as a coach continues, she sait. “Being patient and just learning that the more your players know you care, the more your players know you care. I think I’ve learned how to do that while also being very aggressive and criticizing…telling them that I’m on you because I love you so much and I want to see you [succeed].”

Offers date extended

It used to be that January 1 was the starting date when WNBA teams could make qualifying offers. However, this off-season that date has been pushed back to January 11. Core, reserved and restricted qualifying offers can be sent out by teams to players through January 20.

Contract negotiations between teams and players can begin on January 21, and players can begin signing negotiated contracts on February 1.

It is expected that the W will put out the 2023 official free agent and core designation list around January 21, Across The reported last week.  

The Next also reported last week that the Minnesota Lynx currently have only five players under contract.

Hill the quadruple-doubles champ

The NCAA only officially recognizes five Division I women’s basketball players with quadruple-doubles. Shakyla Hill is the only one to do it twice playing for Grambling State (2015 to 2019)—15 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 steals on January 4, 2018.

A year later, Hill did it again with a 21 points, 16 rebounds, 13 assists and 10 steals performance.

Now playing pro ball overseas, Hill once again performed the feat, recording the first quadruple-double in international play in the WABA League with her Serbia team in 2020.

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