Before women’s basketball’s home game against Kent State on Feb. 15, fifth-year guard Jazmine Young took center stage at Alumni Arena. Head coach Becky Burke presented Young with the ball from her 1,000th career point, scored against Toledo on Feb. 8.
2022-23 has been a career year for Young, even before reaching that major milestone. In her third season at UB since transferring from Tennessee State, she’s averaging career-highs with 13.8 points per game while playing 35.7 minutes per contest. After back-to-back seasons with a 6.1 point-per-game average, Young has blossomed into a primary offensive option this year..
Young’s strides on the offensive end — along with an increased role under first-year head coach Becky Burke — allowed her to achieve a feat that most players never reach: 1,000 career points. The Milwaukee native came into Toledo knowing that she had a chance to reach the landmark number.
“I knew it could have been the day that I scored it,” Young said. “But I wasn’t thinking like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to get this amount of points.’”
Young ended up matching her UB career-high with 20 points in the 91-73 loss. She made an and-one layup late in the game for her 998th and 999th points. Then, she stepped to the free-throw line with a chance to make it an even 1,000.
Young made the free throw, but her teammates and coaches didn’t know she reached the mark until after the game.
“I don’t think anybody really knew, [but] we definitely celebrated her afterwards,” Burke said. “It’s a once-in-a-career type milestone, regardless of what the outcome of the game was, and we can put that aside and celebrate that person as an individual.”
Young said her parents watched from home, like they do every game. Afterwards, she said friends and family “flooded” her phone with messages.
“My first year being here [at UB], it was a COVID year,” Young said. “I just think back to those days and what we had to go through as far as missing games and having to sit out. I appreciate the moments I have now for sure.”
Young is the only returning player from last year’s MAC Championship-winning team. Multiple former UB stars such as Dyaisha Fair (23.4 points per game last season), Georgia Woolley (14.6 points per game last season) and Cheyenne McEvans (7.810.2 points per game last season) all followed ex-head coach Felisha Legette-Jack to Syracuse this offseason. Now, Young has a new role on the team.
As a veteran player with a new crop of teammates, Young has taken on more of the scoring load for UB. She’s taking six more shots a game this season as opposed to last year, and she’s gone from a role player and “facilitator” to somebody who the offense runs through.
“The other two years [at UB], I was just in a different role as a facilitator, and this year I had to assume the role of scoring a bit more.”
Young is third on the team with 13.8 points per game behind graduate guard Re’Shawna Stone (17) and fifth-year guard Zakiyah Winfield (15.1).
Burke said that Young brings experience and poise to a team with so many players and coaches in their first seasons at UB.
“Having been there and done that… probably not finding yourself in a situation that you haven’t been in before… has been crucial to our team,” Burke said. “I think that everyone trusts that Jaz knows what’s going on out there and [that] this isn’t her first rodeo.”
After three years in the Mid-American Conference, Young said she’s adjusted to a different style of play. At Tennessee State, which plays in the smaller Ohio Valley Conference, Young said play was competitive but less “system-led.” At UB, she’s come to perform well within a more balanced and team-oriented structure.
With the Bulls currently struggling in the MAC standings, Young commended her young team because they “just continuously fight.”
“Win, lose, or draw we still got that determination on our face,” she said. Currently in her final season at UB, Young said she wants to play basketball after college.
As a player who’s scored over 1,000 career points in high school and college, basketball has been at the forefront of Young’s life. But she’s excited for what her future holds, whether it involves playing basketball or not. “I just leave it in God’s hands and whatever he says or whatever he has for me, I’m just gonna go with it.”
Ryan Tantalo is the senior sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com