WINCHESTER — Jasmyne Davis will never forget the morning of Oct. 1, 2015.
The 20-year-old, a sophomore guard for the Umpqua Community College women’s basketball team at the time, was among the students in a computer lab next to Snyder Hall as the shooting unfolded.
Davis was not injured, but eight students and a UCC professor lost their lives that day. The gunman eventually killed himself.
“That made a huge impact on everybody (at UCC),” Davis said in a phone interview from Las Vegas Tuesday. “It was a life-changing experience ... it made me look at life differently. Life can be taken at any second, so I take it day by day trying to better myself and helping others.”
She added, “I try not to think about it, but everytime I do little clips come to mind. Everybody who was affected by it are truly in my heart and I play for them every day.”
Davis, who went to high school in Los Angeles, will be grateful forever to Kim Dietz, one of the shooting victims. Davis said Dietz was able to shut a door at the computer lab which automatically locked as she fell to the ground after getting shot, preventing the gunman from potentially entering the classroom and inflicting more damage.
“I look at everybody there (at UCC) as heroes, but (Dietz) is the main one to me,” Davis said. “She was brave enough to do that. She saved not only my life, but the whole classroom.”
Davis felt the incident which generated worldwide coverage brought the UCC women’s team closer together. The Riverhawks went on to have a successful season, advancing to the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament and finishing 25-8 overall.
Davis — who obtained an associate degree from UCC in June and plans to continue her basketball career at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton, Canada, next year — averaged 5.4 points, 5.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
“The team coped with everything well,” she said. “We talked more, were more involved and comforted each other. It felt like a family.”
UCC coach Dave Stricklin agreed.
“I thought at the time it was crucial for everybody to be together,” he said. “We needed a sense of normalcy. After it happened, we spent a lot of time together and I thought it helped. They got back into the gym right away and practiced.
“The (basketball) court is one time where you can forget about all that stuff, enjoy each other’s company, enjoy the game and compete.”
Of course, anytime they played on the road the questions popped up all over.
“Every gym people wanted to ask and talk about it,” Stricklin said. “Our players were constantly reminded of it all year long. For them to be able to play that well together is a credit to them.”
“We had something bigger to play for,” Davis said. “Not just a championship, but we played for those people who lost their lives.”