Howard’s Thornton Among the Nation’s Top Sharpshooters

Howard University junior guard Jayla Thornton among the top sharpshooters in the country (Photo Credit : Rodney Pierce)

         Third-year guard nationally ranked in multiple three-point categories

Howard Junior Jayla Thornton on her way to the Hoop (Photo Courtesy of Howard Athletics)

 WASHINGTON (December 20, 2019) – Howard University women’s basketball team is off to an impressive 7-4 start with only two contests remaining before league play. One of the team’s primary reasons for its early success has been the long ball, led by third-year sharpshooter Jayla Thornton (Newark, N.J.).


“I love basketball and it’s my job [on the team],” said Thornton regarding being the squad’s top sharpshooter. “It takes a lot of practice and hard work. I’m extremely grateful and excited to be noticed for something I love to do.”

Jayla Thornton (Photo Credit : Howard Athletics)

Thornton spearheads the Bison’s three-point attack, topping the conference in multiple categories.


“With every job, there’s always something that intrigues you and shooting definitely excites me,” Thornton continued. “I’m committed to challenging my shot and it has paid off. It’s an indescribable feeling to know your coach [Ty Grace] and the team count on you for some of the toughest shots and trust you to take those shots.”

After knocking off East Carolina Monday (Dec. 16), the New Jersey product ranks ninth nationally with 35 three-pointers made and 15th in three-pointers per game (3.18). Furthermore, Thornton has scored double figures in nine of the squad’s 11 contests, including a pair of 20-point efforts at UMBC (Nov. 9) and versus Pac-12 foe Washington (Nov. 29) during the Thanksgiving break.


“I’m extremely proud of Jayla [Thornton],” said Howard women’s basketball head coach Ty Grace. “She’s has put in a lot of hard work to be able to experience such great accomplishments. To be recognized on a national level in those categories is impressive. She is her toughest critic, so I know she’s not done yet. She wants more and the best is yet to come.”


Thornton has not been the only Bison on fire from downtown this season.


Overall, the Bison are shooting over 36-percent (70-of-206) from three-point land, which ranks No. 1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and top 35 nationally.

Howard University senior guard Sarah Edmond scored a season-high 25 points in the victory over Niagara(Photo Credit:Yusuf Abdullah)

Senior guard Sarah Edmond (Freeport, N.Y.), newly chosen Co-MEAC Player of the Week, sits fifth in the league with 21 made trey balls.

Howard University senior guard Ayonna Williams scored a season-best 28 points in the road win at George Mason (Photo Credit – Yusuf Abdullah)

Guards Ayonna Williams (Washington) and Gia Thorpe (Pittsburgh) have sparingly taken three-pointers this year but have been efficient. Currently, Williams is shooting 55-percent (11-of-20) from behind the arc while the Pittsburgh product shoots 50-percent (7-of-14) from long range.

Howard University sophomore Gia Thorpe scored 15 points in the road win at East Carolina (Photo Credit : Rodney Pierce)

Howard looks to continue its hot hand in Fairfax, Va., where the George Mason Patriots await. Tipoff is set for noon on ESPN+.


About Howard University Athletics


The Howard University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors 19 NCAA Division I men and women varsity sports. The programs represent six conferences: The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA), Sun Belt Conference, Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) and Atlantic Sun (ASUN) Conference.


For more information, visit the Bison Athletics website at

Story and Pictures courtesy of Howard Athletics