Emporess James, one of last year's most productive players on the Miami Dade College women's basketball team, is continuing her stellar play for the Lady Sharks this season.
Ten games into the season, the 6-foot sophomore is the team's leading scorer and rebounder. She is averaging 15.2 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. Her rebounding stats are ranked second among all players in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division-I.
James' best game this year came in a 91-75 win against Santa Fe College on Nov. 11, where she scored 36 points and snatched 23 rebounds.
She is building off her success from last year. As a freshman, James averaged 11.2 points and 12.6 rebounds per game, earning Florida College System Activities Association All-Southern Conference First Team honors. James was also named a top-40 JuCo All-Star for the eighth annual NJCAA Coaches Association All-Star game.
"We need that leadership," said sophomore forward Nia Sapp. "Having someone who's been here last year, someone who knows the ropes, someone who knows what to do and what not to do, that's the perfect person to follow."
James, a 19-year-old mass communications major, was born in West Palm Beach, FL., and was raised by her mother along with 10 other siblings. She is the second youngest among her brothers and sisters.
James' mother got her involved in basketball at an early age by putting her on youth basketball travel teams. Since James was first introduced to basketball, it has been one of her main ways of escaping day to day life.
"What I love the most about basketball is that it takes me away from reality," James said. "When I'm on the court, I don't think about: 'oh I have a paper due tomorrow' or I don't think about 'oh I'm broke, how am I going to get through the day?' It's very stress relieving. I don't think about anything but basketball, while I'm playing basketball."
While playing at William T. Dwyer High School, James was selected to an all-star game for schools in the West Palm Beach area. It was at that game that Lady Sharks Head Basketball Coach Susan Summons took notice of her.
Summons and James formally met later at a skills showcase. She offered a scholarship to James at the event.
"She was telling me about what the program has to offer, how she would look out for me not just as a player, but as a person," James said.
Having liked everything Summons said about MDC and hearing great things about the basketball program from friends close to the school, James took the scholarship to MDC.
"When I first saw her play, I felt she was the player that I was looking for," Summons said. "The vision and goal that I had for her was that I could help her become a top-rated player, not only in the state but in the country."