Matt Weir / The Collegian
Breaking records every game, Ross leads on and off the court.
In just her third season as a member of the Fresno State women’s basketball team, junior Jaleesa Ross became a leader of a team which has won back-to-back Western Athletic Conference championships that are the first two in program history, not to mention the programs first appearances in the NCAA tournament. As far as being a leader, Ross is just trying to help out her senior teammates.
“ I’m trying to help our seniors do a really good job with it, but coach let me know that I needed to be more verbal, the younger players really look up to us so I try and fill those shoes,” Ross said.
In a press release on gobulldogs.com head coach Adrian Wiggins said that Ross is becoming more of a captain for the team.
“Jaleesa has developed into an excellent leader on and off the basketball floor,” Wiggins said. “She is learning how to take the information she learns and not only apply it but she is helping others apply it.”
Last season, Ross, a Pinole Valley high school graduate, was named first-team ALL-WAC. She also became the first player in league history to win the WAC tournament MVP in back-to-back years. She set the record for most 3-pointers made in one season with 95 beating her previous record of 89, which she set her freshman year. Going into this season, she is also the career leader in 3-point percentage, making 41 percent.
She started the season in fourth place on the all-time 3-point field goal list with 184. So far through 20 games of the 2009-10, season she has added 67 more 3-pointers to give her 251 in her tenure, which puts her in second place on the career list, just behind former Bulldog Lindsay Logan who had 272 for her career (2000-2003).
This year, Ross is leading the team with a scoring average of 17.8 points per game, six rebounds per game and four steals per game. She set her career high in points with 33 against Boston College.
The most important record that Ross has this year is the record of her team. She has helped the Bulldogs to a 15-5 record on the season and 6-0 in the WAC. In her most recent game against a very good Louisiana Tech team, Ross led the team by scoring 31 points, two shy of her career high.
When you ask Jaleesa about her success she is quick to shy away from the accolades and concentrate on her teammates instead.
The unselfishness that there seems to be with the women on this team is one of the reasons that Ross chose to attend Fresno State.
“The team atmosphere – I love it. They are really family oriented. Everyone cares about everybody,” said Ross.
Once her collegiate career is over one thing is for sure: Jaleesa Ross may go down as one of the best players in program history.
Still, she is not worried about being remembered for her personal accolades, but as a member of a winning team in history.
“I want to be remembered as playing as a part of the most winningest class that’s ever played at Fresno State,” Ross said.