‘Means the world’: Wichita State women’s basketball brings home another local talent

Some of Taylor Jameson’s favorite memories from her childhood in Wichita are watching the Wichita State women’s basketball team win three straight championships at Koch Arena from 2013-15.

By the time she was ready to graduate from high school at Heights, Jameson was hoping to wear her hometown colors for college. But she was never offered a scholarship by WSU and instead enjoyed a successful four-year career at George Mason, racking up 115 games of experience with 62 starts.

So when she recently hit the portal as a graduate transfer with one more year to play, Jameson was elated when new WSU women’s basketball coach Terry Nooner reached out to set up an official visit.

On Wednesday, Jameson announced she would finish her career in her hometown by committing to Wichita State.

“It means the world to me,” Jameson said. “Wichita is filled with so many talented athletes and with the coaching changes over the past few years, it’s opened opportunities for other athletes and younger ones in the area to represent the city in a positive way. I knew I couldn’t miss out on this opportunity.”

Since Nooner, from the Kansas City area, and assistant coach Antwain Scales, a Wichita native, took over the program last spring, they have made it a priority to bring Wichita talent back home and keep local talent here in upcoming recruiting classes.

Last season Nooner won a contentious recruiting battle for Wichita native Tre’Zure Jobe, a former Division II All-American at Emporia State. She averaged 9.9 points and a team-high 2.4 assists this past season playing point guard for the Shockers. WSU also features Kapaun Mt. Carmel graduate Ella Anciaux.

Jameson and Jobe returning to play as Shockers is an important pipeline to build in the opinion of Ken Palmer, Jameson’s former coach at Heights. WSU has already extended offers to upcoming Wichita-area talent like Kendal Brueggen (2025), Kennadi Jackson (2025) and Zoey Buckner-Franklin (2027).

“Honestly, we don’t have enough of it,” Palmer said. “Taylor is a hometown kid who we were hoping was going to be playing (at WSU) from the beginning, but that’s just how things go. It’s exciting for her to be coming home and to help build that program back up and build up the camaraderie with Wichita, Kansas. There’s a lot of support here. And it’s always nice to see them take pride in where they’re from.”

After WSU finished 10-22 last season in Nooner’s first year on the sidelines, he is in the midst of flipping the roster to load up for a much more competitive run in his second year.

Jameson was sold on that vision.

“I remember watching the Jody Adams era when they were winning championships around here,” Jameson said. “I’m excited to bring my knowledge of the game and experience and try to bring that championship mentality back to Wichita.”

WSU has the bulk of its production to replace from last season, as Jobe, DJ McCarty, Sierra Morrow and Aniya Bell have expired their eligibility, while leading scorer Daniela Abies, starter Rissa Nsabua, Jeniah Thompson, Ambah Kowcun and Sophia Goncalves are expected to depart through the transfer portal.

That leaves plenty of opportunity for a player with the skill-set of Jameson, a 5-foot-6 guard known for her 3-point shooting and defense, to make an immediate impact. WSU is also expected to sign a trio of highly-touted junior-college transfers in the near future.

Jameson averaged 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 turnovers this past season at George Mason. The 2020 Heights graduate averaged a career-high 11.2 points in the 2022-23 season.

“Wichita State is getting a kid who just loves the game and loves to work hard,” Palmer said. “She’s a very prideful kid. She takes a lot of pride in her game, in her defense, in the way she shoots the ball. She’s always been one of my top workers.”

Jameson said that pride begins and ends on the defensive end.

“On any given night, the ball is never promised to go in for you,” Jameson said. “Defense is more of a mentality than anything and it comes down to heart. That’s how I was always coached coming up. No matter what, heart will always show up in the game. If your shot isn’t falling, there’s still a way for you to win with energy that starts on the defensive end.”

After spending the last four seasons playing in Fairfax, Va., Jameson said she is excited to finish her career at Koch Arena, just a few miles from her childhood home.

“Going so far away from home these last four years has allowed me to gain independence and actually grow up and become who I am as an adult now,” Jameson said. “So being able to come home is rewarding because I can show people how far I’ve come and how much work I’ve put in away from home.”