Lady Wildcats looking for their identity
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Bethune-Cookman had too many mishaps in a 63-54 loss to the College of the Holy Cross at Moore Gymnasium on Sunday.
The Lady Wildcats were doomed by a lack of offensive execution. They shot only 36 percent from the field and converted only 10-for-22 free throws.
“We missed a lot of free throws, especially in one-and-one situations that could have swung the game in our favor. It showed a lack of concentration at the line on our part,” commented Coach Vanessa Blair.
B-CU went 4-for-15 from the three-point range and was hurt by the 18 turnovers.
The Crusaders also committed 25 turnovers and shot only 35 percent from the field, but they were 7-for-18 from beyond the arc and they made 26 of 33 free throws.
“We knew that Holy Cross would be physical and big. They run their sets well. We put them on the free throw line too much,” responded Blair.
Things started well for B-CU after a pair of three pointers by Chastity Rene Taylor; the Lady Wildcats held an early 8-2 lead in the first half.
Holy Cross (6-6) battled back and took a 31-25 lead into halftime on a pair of three’s by Ashley Cooper.
The Crusaders led 44-33 lead after a three by Alex Smith with 9:11 to play.
Bethune-Cookman (5-6) got within 49-43 following a three-point play from Sharnese Neal with 6:30 to play.
‘We hurt ourselves’
The Crusaders would again push their lead out to double digits, but the Wildcats would again pull within six but get no closer.
Taylor led the Wildcats with a game-high 19 points while Neal and Amanda Hairston each had nine.
“We needed stops. We got them some times but couldn’t convert offensively. They didn’t stop us offensively but we hurt ourselves,” responded Taylor.
Smith led the Crusaders with 15 points while teammates Cooper and Christine Ganser each added 13.
Finding their way
B-CU has a young team this season with eight new players. The Wildcats don’t have any seniors on their roster.
“We are young. We didn’t have any expectations. A lot of gelling has to take place. We are starting to see some. Tonight we didn’t play as well after being off five days,” commented Blair.
Newcomers in junior college transfers and juniors Taylor (14.1 ppg) and Terrenisha Hollis (8.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.18 spg) along with freshman Jasmine Evans (5.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) have stood out thus far.
“Taylor is consistent. She is our outside threat. Terrenisha is good at attacking and finishing.
Jasmine is a defensive stopper who can make some offensive plays,” stated Blair.
Eastern Kentucky University transfer and junior Shakeyia Colyer (5.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.63 apg) has also helped at the point guard position.
B-CU also has back post players in junior forwards Amanda Hairston (11.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.63 bpg) and Sharnese Neal (5.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg).
“Having them back is a good thing for us. They feed off each other and play well together. These two have played together for two years. They give us a presence in the post,” mentioned Blair.
The Wildcats are off to a 5-6 overall start, but are still looking to find their identity.
“We have been trying to find each other. We have been building. We have preached defense and offensively we have feed through Rene outside and Amanda inside,” added Blair.
Gearing up for MEAC
B-CU faced Kent State on Wednesday, which was after the Daytona Times’ deadline.
The local team also is gearing up for the conference schedule, which will start soon. B-CU will open its MEAC slate against Florida A&M in Tallahassee on Jan. 7.
“Every game is important and its one game at a time. We have to be consistent every night,” expressed Blair.
Football: More honors for Wildcats
Head football coach Brian Jenkins recently was named Coach of the Year by HBCU Huddle/College Sporting News.
It was his third such honor as he was also named MEAC and AFCA Coach of the Year.
Jenkins led the Wildcats to a 9-3 record, 8-0 conference mark, MEAC title and FCS playoff berth.
In three seasons at B-CU, he has a 27-8 record, 21-3 MEAC mark, two MEAC titles and two FCS playoff appearances.
B-CU was the only HBCU ranked in the final Sports Network FCS Top 25 poll at No. 22.
Offensive linemen Terrance Hackney, a junior, and senior Eugene Solomon were named to the HBCU Huddle/College Sporting News All-American team offense.
Hackney received his third All-American honor this post season. He was also a BoxToRow.com and Beyond Sports Network All-American.
Senior defensive lineman Harold Love III was named to the All-American defense team.