Skipjack women set records, build foundation
Hawkins, Elliott, Rose break individual marks; team ties win record
WYE MILLS Chesapeake College’s women’s basketball team struggled with injuries, inexperience and a lack of depth throughout the 2005-2006 season. In the end, however, the Skipjacks proved to be a record-setting bunch.
Sophomore Keena Hawkins set the college’s new single-season record for three-pointers with 41, and freshman Lynn Rose hauled in a single-season record 306 rebounds. Just for good measure, Rose also tied a national single-game record for rebounds with 31, and streak shooter Nikia Elliott set a single-game team record with eight three-pointers.
Yet the most impressive record set by the Skipjacks was the one they set collectively. Chesapeake, despite dropping to as few as five available players for some games, tied the college’s record for wins during a 7-16 season.
"We progressed from being on the court last year to being competitive this year," said second-year head coach Lowell Shaw, who fielded a club team last season before moving to full varsity competition this year. "That’s a stage you have to go through before you can be ready to win. Next year I anticipate winning."
Unfortunately, Shaw will have to continue building without Hawkins, the North Caroline High School graduate who was the team’s only sophomore. Hawkins averaged 12.5 points and 5.4 rebounds while leading the team in three-point shooting percentage (33.3 percent).
"Keena is a dead-eye shot when she has time to shoot," said Shaw. "She shot as well from three-point range as two-point range. She had a good attitude and always gave everything she had played as hard as she could and never complained. Hawkins, who played for the Skipjacks in 2002, was pleased with her comeback campaign.
"I’ve been out of school for a while, so it was a challenge to get back into shape to play," said Hawkins, who said carrying a good deal of the offensive burden wasn’t new for her.
"I’ve always been a shooter. I knew that was kind of my role on the team," said Hawkins.
Elliott edged Hawkins out as the team’s top scorer, averaging 12.7 points per game while also leading the team in field goals made (106) and attempted (388) as well as assists (2.5 per game). The Cambridge-South Dorchester High graduate was the team’s leading free-throw shooter (80 percent), and her 36 three-pointers would have set a new school record if Hawkins hadn’t grabbed that one for herself.
"When she took open shots, she was a good shooter," said Shaw of Elliott, who had a 42-point game but also struggled at times while shooting 27 percent from the field for the season.
Hawkins and Elliott’s combined 77 three-pointers were easily the most scored by any Skipjack teammates in one season.
"I think we really did feed off of each other," said Elliott.
Rose had 30 or more rebounds twice, and finished second in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference with 13.9 rebounds per game while scoring 7.5 points per contest.
"When Lynn decided to rebound, nobody could stop her from rebounding," said Shaw of Rose, who attended Camden (S.C.) High. "She was probably the dominant rebounder in the league when she wanted to be."
Sherrie Thomas, like Elliott a Cambridge-South Dorchester High graduate, averaged 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, but Shaw said her value to the team went beyond her numbers.
"Sherrie was a very good floor general and a good team leader. She gave a hundred percent a hundred percent of the time," said Shaw. "Sherrie really hustled on defense and played injured most of the season. She hurt her knee in the preseason and it really bothered her all year, but she never slowed down or complained because of it."
Monette Malabet (6.2 points, 5.1 rebounds per game) also played hurt much of the season, according to Shaw.
"Mo understands the game well and knows how to play. She was the best defensive player I had," said Shaw of the Sussex (Del.) Tech graduate "It hurt us the second half of the season when I couldn’t match her up with the other team’s best scorer because of her foot injury."
Caitlin Donnelly (Queen Anne’s County High) played a crucial role for the injury-ravaged Skipjacks the second half of the season despite not having previously played competitive basketball.
"Caitlin played hard and got better as the season went along," said Shaw. "Without her there was a time or two when we wouldn’t have been able to put a team on the floor. And she played a lot of minutes given she’d never played before."
Kari Burns (Easton High), Sarah Stauffer (Colonel Richardson High), and Katie Satterlee (J.M. Bennett High) also joined the team during the season to help the Skipjacks complete their campaign.
Shaw is already recruiting for next year.
"I have a lot of miles on the car and a lot of miles to go before I sleep," said Shaw by cell phone from his car, on his way to a local high school girls’ basketball playoff game.
"I want to make Chesapeake College the place where all the Eastern Shore players want to come and play," said Shaw. "I want to make it their home court beyond high school."
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