Lady Sharks Bounce Back After Tough Start

Miami Dade College’s women’s basketball team had a rocky start to the 2016-17 season, but have been able to come back and are currently over .500.

The Lady Sharks started the season 0-3, but managed to pull it together and are currently 5-4. While the Lady Sharks have been somewhat successful on the road (3-1 away record), they have also faced challenges on the homefront, going 2-3 at home.

Last year, MDC finished the season 18-12 but missed out on the state tournament due to a sub-par 8-7 conference record.

“I set up a tough schedule,” said Head Women’s Basketball Coach Susan Summons. “We are playing teams that are ranked nationally because we want to be tough going down the stretch, and in order for that to happen, we have to beat the best.”

Leading the way for the team this season are freshmen forwards Cheah-Rael Whitsitt and Savannah Clark and sophomore forward Emporess James.

James is averaging 15.2 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. Her rebounding average is the second highest in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division-I.

Whitsitt is averaging 13 points per game, and is also putting up high rebounding numbers, averaging 11.2 rebounds (ranked 12th in NJCAA D-I). Clark is averaging 14.1 points on 55.6% shooting from the field.

Another notable player has been sophomore guard Jamaria Williams, who had a season high 20 points against St. Petersburg College on Nov. 18. Williams is averaging 6.9 points and 3.3 assists per game.

“We started the year off slowly, but have been picking it up, even though it has been a slow process,” Williams said.

The Lady Sharks are continuing their rebounding prowess from last year, averaging 44 rebounds a game (35th in NJCAA D-I), but there are issues of consistency that the team is working on.

For example, last year’s team was very staunch on the defensive end, but this year’s team is struggling in that regard. Opponents are shooting 40.9% against the Lady Sharks so far.

“We have great individual players, but we just need to come together as a team more consistently,” Whitsitt said. “We match up pretty well against every opposition, we just struggle working together on defense, but we are still on a developing stage.”

The Lady Sharks next home game, versus Baltimore City Community College, starts at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Kendall Campus gymnasium during the MDC X-Mas Classic.

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