Jaysea Morgan to lead in senior season at Webster

In this Dec. 21, 2015, file photo, Twin Riversí Jaysea Morgan dribbles against Doniphan during the quarterfinals of the Lady Royals Classic at Twin Rivers High School.
DAILY AMERICAN REPUBLIC File/Brian Rosener

Jaysea Morgan had one concern about going from high school basketball to college basketball.

Playing time.

Even that was turned out to be unnecssary.

The Twin Rivers alumna is entering her senior season at Webster University in St. Louis with plans to go to nursing after graduation.

ďIím more confident in my shot, taking it to the basket, and I try to shoot outside shots more than I did in high school, so thatís a good thing. It has obviously gotten better since Iíve been at it for three more years with more intense training,Ē Morgan said. ďI thought going in as a freshman I wouldnít play a whole lot, but I ended up playing half of every game. That definitely exceeded what I thought. I really didnít have any problems or issues going in, so that was a big relief.Ē

Morgan played in every game as a freshman. She didnít start but averaged 16.5 minutes, seventh on the team, to go with 7.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and a team-leading 62 steals.

As a sophomore, she started two of 27 games and got an extra 90 seconds per game in playing time. While her number of steals declined from 62 to 53, fifth on the team but only seven shy of being first, her shooting numbers took a solid jump.

Morgan shot .466 from the field as a sophomore, a 9% increase, and improved her 3-point shooting and free-throw shooting percentages both by 6%, improving from .243 to .308 on her 3-pointers and from .800 to .865 on her free throws, while again averaging 2.7 rebounds.

Morgan then cracked the starting lineup as a junior and led the team in playing time. She started every game and averaged 27.7 minutes, 10.3 points and 3.0 rebounds. With the extra time, her steals soared to 84, nearly a steal per game better than anyone else on the team. Her assists jumped in tune, increasing from 34 to 56 to 98 with each season.

Her shooting percentages did take a hit, however, with her finishing at .419 from the field, .250 on 3-pointers and .795 on free throws.

ďIt has been a fun ride. Iíve had some ups and downs and Iíve had some really high highs and some pretty lows, but overall Iíve had a really good time. I really enjoy the basketball program, I really enjoy the coaching staff and everybody else who is in the athletic department, as well as teammates. Iíve definitely gained some longtime friendships here and Iím just really glad I chose Webster,Ē Morgan said.

From moving in, to practice, to games, to class, the transition to college life in St. Louis went pretty smoothly.

Morgan had upperclassmen and coaches help her get moved in. The small class sizes at Webster were similar to her high school classes at Twin Rivers. She didnít have to deal with 200-student lecture halls. While practices were more demanding, her time playing for coach Kelly Westerfield at Twin Rivers prepared her for the challenge.

ďMy coach at Webster (Jordan Olufson) is a lot like coach Westerfield. Heíll get on you if you need it and heíll encourage you when you need it and heíll pick you up if you need it,Ē Morgan said. ďThey have the same coaching style, I guess you could say. That made it a little easier, too. I was kind of nervous playing for a male just because I never have before and I didnít know how it was going to be, but it has been really great. He is a good guy, he is a good coach, so I enjoy it.Ē

In between practices and games, Morgan pretty much lived in the gym.

When she lived on campus in the beginning, she was a 2-minute walk from the gym. These days, Morgan has a place off-campus but she doesnít like to leave campus during the day. Why waste the gas money.

So sheíll go from classes to the gym to up some shots and spend time with the coaches.

ďIím literally there during every minute of my free time,Ē Morgan said.

A 5-foot, 7-inch guard, Morgan was the only junior on the team last season and looks forward to leading the team again during her senior season. Webster went 17-9 last season in its 11th season under Olufson and is 56-23 during Morganís time there.

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