Skipjack women tie school record for wins
Chesapeake rallies past Southern Maryland, 58-46
WYE MILLS Lowell Shaw’s preseason goal for his Chesapeake College women’s basketball team may have seemed more optimistic than realistic to the casual observer.
"My goal, once I learned that seven wins was the school record, was to beat the record," said Shaw, who started the season with only one player who had any previous collegiate experience.
Shaw’s Skipjacks moved a step closer to his preseason goal Thursday night, notching a 58-46 win over the visiting College of Southern Maryland to improve their record to 7-13. All five starters scored in double figures for the Skipjacks, who overcame a 24-21 halftime deficit to post their third win in their last five games.
"I think we’ve been playing more like a team," said sophomore forward Keena Hawkins, who had 11 points and eight rebounds against CSM (8-14 overall, 4-8 league). "We’re making more than one pass, moving the ball around, and trying to make the open shots."
A game-turning, 8-0 spurt to start the second half proved Hawkins’ point. Four different Skipjacks Hawkins, Nikia Elliott, Lynn Rose, and Monette Malabet each had baskets as Chesapeake turned a 24-21 deficit into a 29-24 advantage.
CSM, struggling to score points without injured standout Kalee Smith, would get no closer than three points the rest of the way. Smith who is fifth in the conference in scoring (17.2 points per game) and fourth in rebounding (12.3 per contest) is out with a broken hand bone.
"She’s more than just numbers," CSM head coach John Mitchell said of his injured star. "She provides a lot of stability and leadership on the court. We struggle a lot without her."
"She’s a difference-maker," Shaw said of Smith.
The Skipjacks, meanwhile, won while key players like Malabet and Sherrie Thomas continued to play through nagging injuries.
Balanced scoring Malabet and Elliott had 13 each, Rose and Hawkins added 11 apiece, and Thomas chipped in 10 was one key ingredient for Chesapeake. A 55-36 rebounding advantage including a game-high 28 from Lynn Rose was another important factor for the Skipjacks, who broke the game open by hitting 15 of their final 16 free throws.
Skipjacks Caitlin Donnelly, Kari Burns and Katie Satterlee also played an important role just by playing. The three second-semester recruits were the only available substitutes Thursday night, providing the starters with some much-needed rest.
The Skipjacks can set a team record for victories by beating either Baltimore City Community College in next Wednesday’s 7 p.m. home finale or host Northern Virginia Community College in next Friday’s 6 p.m. regular-season finale.
If necessary, Chesapeake also has at least two post-season contests first-round games in the state and regional tournaments in which to try for the unprecedented eighth win.
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