Legendary retired Northwestern State women's basketball coach James Smith will introduce two of the most dynamic scorers and outstanding performers in Lady Demons history, teammates Joskeen Garner and Angela Simpson, for their enshrinement in NSU's Graduate N Club Hall of Fame on Saturday in Prather Coliseum.
Garner and Simpson, stars for the Lady Demons from 1992-96, will be inducted at a dinner following the 2 p.m. Lady Demons game against longtime rival Southeastern Louisiana. They will be featured during halftime recognition of former players, coaches and team personnel on Lady Demon Basketball Reunion Day. Garner was a first-team Parade All-America star at Florien High School while Simpson was a two-time All-State standout from Shreveport-Huntington.
They rank 2-3 in school history in scoring with a combined total of 3,945 points. Playing for Smith, head coach for 17 seasons, they helped Northwestern State to three 20-win seasons, the 1995 Southland Conference championship, and WNIT appearances in 1993 and 1995, with a runner-up finish in 1995 featuring wins over Notre Dame and Clemson.
Membership in the Graduate N Club Hall of Fame, the athletic letterwinners' association at Northwestern, is the highest athletic honor conferred to former student-athletes by the university. Smith, who retired after winning the Southland title and going to the NCAA Tournament in 2004, was inducted while still active in 1999.
Garner, a 6-0 forward, is one of only three players in Southland Conference women's basketball history to earn first-team All-SLC honors for four straight seasons. She was the Southland Player of the Year in 1995 and 1996, and an honorable mention Associated Press All-American as a junior. Garner won SLC Freshman of the Year accolades in 1992-93, and was Co-Player of the Year on the 1993-94 All-Louisiana Team when she finished second nationally with a 13.8 rebounding average.
Garner is regarded as the most versatile player in NSU and Southland history, ranking among all-time leaders in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks as she played both on the perimeter and inside. Her 1,985 career points (16.6 per game) is second in school history and eighth in conference history, while her 1,388 rebounds is No. 1 at NSU and second all-time in the Southland. Garner is the Lady Demon career leader in steals with 353, a 2.9 average, and ranks third on the SLC career list. Her 211 blocked shots ranks second all-time at NSU and third in SLC history. She had 538 career assists, sixth in school history and just shy of the Southland career top 10 rankings.
She holds the Lady Demon single-game rebounding record with 26 at Texas-Arlington as a junior, one of an amazing eight games with 20 or more rebounds. She averaged 10-plus rebounds all four seasons, with four of the top eight single-season totals in NSU history. Garner led the Southland in rebounding all four seasons she played, and topped the league in blocks as a sophomore.
A three-time All-Southland Conference Tournament selection, leading NSU to the finals in 1993 and 1995, Garner had five career triple-doubles (double figures in three major statistical categories in a single game). She played professionally overseas.
Simpson emerged as one of the most explosive scorers in Lady Demon history. A 5-7 guard, she ranks third in school history in career scoring (1,960 points, 17.3 ppg in 113 games) and is 10th in league history. Fifth in school history with 262 steals (2.3 pg), Simpson finished her career ranked eighth all-time at NSU with 608 rebounds. She was a two-time first team All-Southland pick (1994, 1996).
She led the Southland in scoring in 1996 with 20.0 average (579 points in 29 games) and won All-SLC Tournament honors in 1995 and 1996. Simpson holds SLC Tournament records with 45 points (vs. Texas State, 1996) and with 15 baskets in that performance. She also had a 37-point performance in the 1995 WNIT semifinal win over Notre Dame.
She overcame reconstructive knee surgery when injured 21 games into her sophomore season and did not sit out for a redshirt year, making a quick recovery. She led NSU with a 21.7 scoring average in 1993-94, then averaged 20.0 as a senior. Simpson also snagged a career-best 13 rebounds as a sophomore against rival Stephen F. Austin.