After repeating as Southern Conference Champions, the Lady Sharks fell to Florida Northwest State College 77-57 in the first round of the Florida College System Activities Association State Tournament.
The team was without three of their players—Daliyah Brown, Samantha Douglas and Monique Pruitt-Henderson—during the game. The players were withheld from the team’s final three games It’s unclear why the players missed those games.
Kelly Warren, the executive director of the FCSAA, said three MDC players were serving a three-game suspension for their involvement in an altercation against ASA College on Feb. 16. She declined to specify the names of the suspended players.
Miami Dade College Athletic Director Anthony Fiorenza also said that three girls were withheld from the Lady Sharks final three games but he also declined to name who they were.
According to Warren, five ASA College players and two ASA College assistant coaches were also suspended three games following the altercation. ASA College forfeited their last four games of the season. The Reporter attempted to reach out to ASA College’s Athletic Director, Kenney Wilcox, through phone calls and emails but he did not respond for comment.
The Lady Sharks ended their season 22-9, including an impressive 11-1 record in Southern Conference play.
“It was an amazing year that we would have rather ended differently,” Summons said. “We did not shoot the ball well [at all] in that game. We shot about 20 percent from the field and when you do that, there’s no way you are going to win a game like that. There’s a teaching moment that you get when going throughout the season. Like Forrest Gump said ‘You never know what you’re going to get in a box of chocolates.’ The season carried the same metaphor.”
Brown, who averaged 20.2 points per game this season, was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year. She was also named to the All-State team and was an All-Southern Conference first-team player and was named an All-American.
“The awards were a result of a great season [for me],” Brown said. “This is my motivation to continue playing hard and getting better next season.”
Several other players received top honors.
Sophomore forward Michelle Pruitt (16.4 points, 10.4 rebounds per game) was named to the All-State team, she was an honorable mention for the All-American team and was a first-team All-Southern Conference Player.
Two other players were named to the All-Southern Conference first team: freshman forward Toi Smith (11.5 points, 8.9 rebounds per game) and sophomore guard Ganette Chism (14.3 points per game).
Two players—Sophomore forward Amy Cole Soumare (5.1 points, 6 rebounds per game) and freshman guard Shay Harper (6.7 points per game)—were named to the All-Southern Conference second team.
“These girls gave it their all, all season long,” Summons said. “They had a remarkable season and have shown so much maturity and growth along the way.”
Summons was also selected as the Southern Conference Coach of the Year.
With ten players graduating, Summons has shifted her focus to recruiting for next year’s team.
Her focus is not just athletic players who can block, defend and score from all points of the floor but players who will provide the team with quality depth.
This year’s bench was a key component. They averaged 23 points per game. According to Summons, the strength of the bench will determine their success next season.
Brown, who was named the team’s captain as a freshman, is hoping to use what she learned this year to push her teammates to a better record during her sophomore campaign.
“This year was great for us and a huge learning experience myself,” Brown said. “My focus is to make sure I take what I learned now so that when next season begins, we’re all playing to the best of our potential.”