Alayshia Hunter still remembers how she fell in love with the University of Louisana-Monroe campus during a visit on the eve of her senior basketball season at Ellison in 2011.
“That’s the best thing about it,” Hunter said. “I love that campus.”
But this past season, after a promising debut season playing for the Warhawks in 2013, Hunter wasn’t feeling the same good vibes she’d felt from the day she first stepped on campus.
And unlike at Ellison, where Hunter felt she got better each year while earning two Texas Girls Coaches’ Association All-State nods, Hunter was having to deal with a different type of adversity.
“My freshman year was a lot better than this past year because this past year, I’m not even going to lie, me and my coach had a bad relationship,” Hunter said.
According to the ULM website, Hunter played in 31 games and started five in her first year as a Warhawk and did the same her sophomore season.
And while her minutes only dipped from 15.8 to 14.9 minutes per game, it certainly didn’t feel like it, Hunter said.
It didn’t help that Hunter saw slight dips in her scoring and rebounding averages, not to mention her field goal percentage.
And while the drops were minimal, it hurt for Hunter, who felt she had improved heading into her sophomore season.
“I feel like I actually got better. I expanded, I got more outside of the key,” Hunter said. “Before (my range) was 15 (feet) and in, now I’m like 18.”
But Hunter felt her improvement wasn’t showing on the court as her relationship with head coach Mona Martin soured.
The Warhawks also went a combined 21-41 in her first two seasons.
But that is in the past now as ULM has a new coach in Jeff Dow, who took over after Martin retired this past spring.
Hunter and her teammates have already had a chance to interact with Dow and it hasn’t taken Hunter long to form an opinion of her new coach.
“I love him,” Hunter said. “I love him. He’s very strict. He knows what he wants.
“If you know what you want that’s how you lay it down.”
Now, with a new coach in charge, Hunter has set her sights high for her junior season, where she hopes to earn an All-Sun Belt Conference selection and return to the top 10 in the conference in blocks after finishing No. 8 in her debut season.
But most importantly, Hunter hopes the Warhawks can see a big jump in the win column next season.
After all, that is what she became accustomed to at Ellison.
“When I was (at Ellison), I got better each year and we got better as a team each year. Our record got better,” Hunter said. “And that was my goal coming into that school because when I came in they only won nine games. We’ve only won one better each year. So, I’m hoping this year we can come in and make some good progress.”