After suffering an MCL injury last season, senior forward and Slippery Rock women’s basketball captain Jazmyne Frost returns ready and focused for the upcoming season.
The injury caused Frost to sit out the majority of her first season with SRU.
“I wasn’t cleared to play until March when the season was over,” Frost said. “I had to strengthen the muscle again and for a while I couldn’t actually get my knee to bend at all. It was a long and frustrating process.”
Frost’s absence was upsetting to head coach Tanya Longo, who had high hopes for the transfer recruit from Division I Niagra University.
“The injury to Jazmyne left a huge gap and at this level you just don’t have a tremendous amount of depth,” Longo said. “She was keyed in as our starting center who we expected to be extremely impactful. She was getting better in the first few games then all of a sudden she was totally removed from the situation.”
Longo admitted that Frost’s absence opened an opportunity for others to step up, but it was inevitable that losing her would prove extremely costly to their season.
“Before the injury I felt as though I was playing well,” Frost said. “We were only getting off to a start, so it’s hard to say if things might have been different.”
Originally from South Euclid, Ohio, Frost started her college basketball career at Niagra University.
Frost had five starts at Niagra and averaged 1.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.1 assists.
Frost decided to leave Niagra after her 2011 season with the Purple Eagles.
“I was a better fit here at Slippery Rock,” Frost said. “I played off and on over there, so the transition was easy. I think some of the concepts I learned at Niagra have made it easy for me to adapt to playing in Division II.”
Although she was sidelined for the majority of her first season with the Rock, Frost consistently practiced throughout her rehabilitation program and travelled with the team to away games.
“Jazmyne has really grown in her time here,” Longo said. “She had a frustrating season-ending injury, but she continued to be an active and very supportive member of our team and program from the sidelines in a different capacity.”
This season, Longo stressed that the team had worked particularly on defense and shooting throughout the summer and into preseason.
“Each individual has worked on things that we thought would help them have a greater impact on the program we’re trying to run here,” Longo said. “Since the start of the year we’ve begun working on team concepts and chemistry which automatically fell into place for our veteran players returning to the program.”
Frost will be leading Slippery Rock alongside co-captain sophomore Erica Aiello.
The selection was a surprise to Aiello but she plans to embrace the opportunity to help lead the team.
“I wasn’t expecting to be in this role at such a young age,” Aiello said. “I thought a senior would come in and take that role because there are three of them. I was definitely honored, but shocked.”
Coach Longo said that despite Aiello’s age, she fully backs her decision to appoint the young point guard as captain and expects her to step in and take responsibility for her teammates.
“From day one she’s come in here and asked what she needs to do to be an impactful player in this program and a solid leader,” Longo said. “We sit down and talk pretty consistently about what her role is and things she needs to work on physically. She has worked as hard as anyone that I have coached to grow her game.”
The coaching staff hopes that the two captains can strike a perfect balance between Frost’s experience and Aiello’s eagerness to guide them to a much more successful campaign than last year’s.
Aiello said she believes Frost’s experience will be crucial to their teamwork together as captains.
“Jazmyne has been through this many times before and the fact that she’s a transfer means she’s probably already experienced bad leadership so she knows what to avoid,” Aiello said. “Hopefully we can feed off each other and motivate ourselves to be better together.”