One of the most decorated athletes to ever take the floor inside the hallowed halls of Bonner Arnold Coliseum is returning to the team that she helped transition into one of the most tradition-rich in the entire country.
Kunshinge Sorrell-Howard, who brings with her a well-established standard of excellence in the gymnasium, is the new women’s basketball assistant for Northeast Mississippi Community College beginning with the approaching 2015-16 campaign.
Sorrell-Howard, whose name is still imprinted into the Southeastern Conference (SEC) record book from her time at Mississippi State University, comes back to Northeast after spending the past five years at Clinton High School in the same capacity.
Sorrell-Howard was a sensation at all levels of roundball during the 1980s and was a back-to-back selection to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal’s All-Area team at Booneville High School.
However, Sorrell-Howard truly rose to stardom as a Lady Tiger under the tutelage of National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Hall of Fame coach Ricky Ford.
She quickly adjusted to the faster pace of collegiate hoops and proved herself as an elite athlete by averaging 24 points in her initial 12 outings at Northeast. The Lady Tigers lost just once in that stretch to rival Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Sorrell-Howard scored a season-high 33 points against Coahoma Community College as a freshman during the 1984-85 campaign and also added a 32-point effort versus Jackson State (Tenn.) Community College.
Northeast captured the first of six consecutive Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) state championships with that squad that featured just one upperclassman alongside Sorrell-Howard.
The Lady Tigers reached new heights during Sorrell-Howard’s last year in a black-and-gold uniform. Northeast entered the postseason with a 20-0 record and kept its unblemished streak intact by sweeping through the MACJC North Division Tournament and MACJC State Tournament.
Northeast extended its phenomenal campaign with convincing wins over Itawamba Community College (94-59), East Mississippi Community College (79-62) and Northwest (82-65) to win the regional title and clinch the Lady Tigers’ inaugural trip to the NJCAA National Tournament.
Sorrell-Howard joined fellow Lady Tigers Sherry Slayton and Phyllis Stafford that on the NJCAA All-Region 23 Tournament team after capturing the crown inside Northwest’s Howard Coliseum.
Northeast returned to Senatobia and moved undefeated into the title matchup with Odessa (Texas) Junior College. The Lady Tigers were halted just shy of perfection and finished as the national runner-up after an 80-69 loss to the Lady Wranglers.
Sorrell-Howard, who easily passed the illustrious 500-point plateau during her pair of seasons at Northeast without the aid of the three-point line, and Jackie Perry became the first Lady Tigers to ever receive NJCAA All-American honors following their magical run to the championship contest in March 1986.
The City of Hospitality native continued her career at Mississippi State and instantly became one of the top players in the league. She still holds the SEC record for field goal attempts in a single year with 699 shots and 257 made buckets as a junior.
She is also deadlocked with Cindy Brogadon of the University of Tennessee for eighth on the SEC’s all-time list of points per game. Sorrell-Howard accounted for an outstanding 1,292 points in 62 contests with the Lady Bulldogs for an average of 20.8 each outing.
Sorrell-Howard also read the passes of her opponents brilliantly and topped the SEC in the category of steals for two consecutive campaigns. She tallied 116 from 1986-87 and followed that during her senior season with 122, which is tied with fellow Mississippi State alumnae Sonya Meadows for sixth most in conference history.
The point guard naturally took advantage of the addition of the three-point arc throughout NCAA Division I during her final year of eligibility and paced the SEC with 142 connections from long distance.
She scored a career-high 39 points twice with the Lady Bulldogs. Sorrell-Howard accomplished this against the University of Memphis (Tenn.) on December 4, 1986 and later repeated the feat versus William Carey University on February 16, 1987.
Sorrell-Howard was part of multiple milestone moments at Mississippi State, including its 150th win in a 97-63 decision over the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and its 350th overall game during an 81-67 triumph against the University of Miami (Fla.).
She was selected as the Most Outstanding Player in the Northern Lights Tournament at Anchorage, Alaska, after guiding the Lady Bulldogs to victories versus Miami and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Sorrell-Howard’s leadership and tremendous play on the court lifted Mississippi State to its inaugural postseason berth in the 1988 National Women’s Invitational Tournament (NWIT).
The Lady Bulldogs traveled to Amarillo, Texas, and went 1-2 in the event with a win against Montana State University and losses to DePaul (Ill.) University and the University of South Alabama. Sorrell-Howard notched 16 points in Mississippi State’s opener against DePaul.
Sorrell-Howard became the second Lady Bulldogs to earn All-SEC recognition. She claimed first-team laurels during both of her campaigns inside Starkville’s Humphrey Coliseum.
She was a two-time SEC Player of the Week recipient as well. Sorrell-Howard grabbed the distinction on February 3, 1987 after leading Mississippi State to an 81-61 win over the University of Kentucky and January 6, 1988 following a thrilling overtime triumph versus Alabama-Birmingham.
Sorrell-Howard recently concluded her tenure at Clinton, where she was part of three division championship teams and four Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A playoff appearances.
The Lady Arrows compiled an overall mark of 89-58 since Sorrell-Howard’s arrival. Clinton has captured 20-plus victories for three straight years, including a solid 24-4 record two years ago.
She has instructed multiple athletes that were selected to The Clarion-Ledger’s All-Metro team. Among those on that list is current Northeast standout Alivia Hughes, who had 8.3 points and 2.4 assists per game as a freshman.