WC’s Green blazes trail to college choice, picks UAB

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2000

Saying she felt at home, standout Warren Central basketball player Lia Green verbally committed to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Wednesday morning, two weeks before the opening of the early signing period.

The 6-foot-2 center said the coaching staff and players at UAB swayed her decision. Memphis, Mississippi State and Ole Miss were also in the running.

“I really felt comfortable around the team and that is what’s most important,” said Green, who took her official visit to UAB on Sept. 28. “I know I’m going to be there for four or five years and it felt comfortable.”

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The Lady Blazers made the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 a season ago under coach Jennie Milling, including an upset win over then-nationally ranked Mississippi State. UAB lost its Sweet 16 game to Rutgers.

Only three seniors graduated from that team, but six seniors will leave the program before Green enrolls in August.

“It surprised me a little bit because I knew at one time that Memphis was number one,” said WC coach Donny Fuller, whose team will open the season Monday with a home game against West Monroe, La. “She wanted to sign early and get it over with so she can concentrate on her senior year.”

Green will have a talented supporting cast in her final high school season as the Lady Vikes return all five starters from last season’s 12-19 team.

She averaged 11.6 points and 7.3 rebounds last year as a Vicksburg Post All-County selection. The knock on Green during her prep career has been inconsistency. She and Fuller have been working on that.

“I told her just the other day that she has to go out and play consistent every game,” Fuller said. “She has shown that she has the ability to do that.”

Green said she needs to get stronger physically before tackling the tests of Division I basketball.

“I need to work on my shooting and ball-handling,” Green said. “I have to be more aggressive and get more strength and I’ll be all right. There are going to be some big players.”

The Lady Blazers, a Conference USA member, played Auburn and Georgia a season ago en route to the conference’s second-place finish behind Tulane.

“They’re always a solid program that’s been to the NCAAs,” Fuller said. “Conference USA and SportSouth have a TV package, so she’ll be on television so people can see her play and that’s a plus.”

Green joins Kiki Westerfield (Mississippi State) and Tiffany Porter (Southern Miss) as Warren Central players that have recently signed with Division I schools.