SDSU women’s hoops thriving with new JAM Center

by Brandon Truffa, Staff Writer

Nestled behind the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni center lies San Diego State’s newest pride and joy, the Jeff Jacobs JAM Center.

The 23,500 square-feet facility is a basketball cathedral for the SDSU men’s and women’s basketball squads. It includes two practice courts, team lounges, locker rooms and more.

The craziest feature is yet to be finished. Supposedly, when a player swipes into the building, a highlight reel of that player will play on the TV in the lobby.

Aside from all of the flashy features, the real purpose of the JAM Center is to improve SDSU’s basketball programs, and the women’s basketball team is ecstatic about how the new facility will do that.

“It’s really been a great teaching tool,” head coach Stacie Terry said. “This is our classroom.”

The new “classroom” will lend a helpful hand in improving the Aztecs, who finished seventh with a 8-10 record in the Mountain West and a 12-19 overall record.

“Since the last week in August, we’ve been in here. So we’ve had quite a few practices in here, and I’ve already seen the difference,” Terry said.

Prior to practicing in the JAM Center, SDSU had to settle for practices in the much older Peterson Gym.

This brought forth obstacles of fighting over courts, practice times and locker rooms.

The two courts in the JAM Center can be separated by a curtain so the women can practice at the same time as the men.

In addition, there are eight total hoops that can be lowered for drills and shootarounds.

With the JAM Center, the players have access 24/7 and can come in and shoot around whenever they wish.

“We can adjust practices around class schedules, the student-athletes can shoot whenever they want to, they have a beautiful lounge where they can actually study in downstairs,” Terry said.

Terry believes the facility has motivated the team more than in the past seasons.

“This is a unique team. They recommitted themselves to this program, and I think the building has just allowed them to be great,” Terry said.

The recommitted Aztecs are looking to get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013.

Senior point guard Ahjalee Harvey thinks the JAM Center will be a crucial part of improving not only the team as a whole, but also each player’s individual game.

“I come in here to get my shots up. I definitely see some of my teammates doing the same thing,” Harvey said. “I definitely do think that it has motivated everyone to really step up their game.”

Fellow senior forward Deidra Smith enjoys the JAM center’s locker room because she can multitask in it.

“We have two TVs, actually, so I can have my football game on and I can watch a basketball game,” Smith said. “Two weeks ago, my Broncos were playing the Raiders, and the WNBA finals were on, so I got to watch both games at the same time.”

Smith feels the facility will play a major role in SDSU’s future recruiting process and will bring the best talent to Montezuma Mesa.

“Not every college in America has such a beautiful facility, or a facility (at all) for that matter,” Smith said.

Harvey couldn’t agree more.

“The program will be able to show recruits somewhere, as players, we can really work on our game,” she said. “That’s something we were missing before, and now to have that and show everyone a beautiful facility we can really utilize to our own ability. I think is going to be crucial.”

The facility puts the team on the same level as schools in major conferences.

“It puts us on an even playing field with a lot of the schools in those bigger conferences,” Terry said. “We have a nicer facility than most. They can’t use this against us, that we don’t have a practice facility.”