Women’s team looks to shock the ODAC

The Guilford College women’s basketball team has exceeded expectations in the first half of the season. The young team has picked up head coach Stephanie Flamini’s system faster than expected.

“Slowly but surely, they’ve just kept getting better each day, and they got to a point where they were starting to look really much better than I expected to that early,” said Flamini. “I didn’t expect them to look real good until the end of January.”

Even though they have improved a lot, they are still not where they can be and have lots of more tough games this season.

The team started the break with three victories to extend their winning streak to nine games before dropping two consecutive games. They then bounced back with a victory over Shenandoah University. The team has a 10-3 overall record and a 4-2 record in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The ODAC has been a very tightly contested conference this year as Guilford is tied in second place with four other teams.

With four of the starters leaving after last season, the returners had to step up and fill the roles. Sophomore forward Miracle Walters moved to a starting role this season after coming off the bench in all 28 games of last season. This season, Walters is second on the team in scoring (14.8 points per game), tied for first in steals (2.5 steals per game) and leads the ODAC in field goal percentage at 56.6. She is also ranked 13th in Division III for her field goal percentage.

Senior guard Lauren Ramsey has stepped up to lead the team on and off the court. Ramsey leads the team many categories. She averages 16.5 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, 4.1 assists per game, and 2.5 steals per game. Ramsey surpassed 1,000 career points in the loss to Emory & Henry University, becoming the 20th Quaker to do so.

“(Walters and Ramsey) knew from the beginning, I said…. you’re going to have to carry us a little bit while these (first-years) start to get used to this stuff and if they’re not stepping up, you have to step up every game,” said Flamini.

The first-years have been a big part of the success for the team. The 6-2 center Julie Carini has started 12 of the 13 games and has been improving as the season goes on. Carini averages 6.8 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game and has a 55.6 field goal percentage which is second in the ODAC.  On January 13, Carini tied her career-high in points with 14 and set a career-high with nine rebounds.

The second first-year that has been starting for Guilford is guard Jasmine McBride. McBride started the year as the shooting guard but after an injury to junior point guard Essence Abraham, she took over the role as point guard.

McBride has contributed in all aspects to the team. She averages 5.6 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game, 1.7 steals per game and an impressive 1.5 assist to turnover ratio.

The team added in two transfers after the fall semester in first-year twins Kendyl and Kasey Medlin. They transferred from National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I school Gardner-Webb University. They are not unfamiliar to Guilford, as Flamini attempted to recruit them last year but decided not to attend Guilford to start the year. In the six games, they have played so far, Kendyl Medlin averages 7.8 points per game and Kasey averages 1.0 points per game.

“They’re really natural shooters…people have always played zone on us because the only weakness we’ve ever had on this team…is always been our outside shooting,” said Flamini. “Instantly when they got here they helped us cus (William Peace University) played us in a zone and Kendyl went out and had 15 points in 14 minutes.”

As a team, they are putting up some impressive stats that are unexpected from a team full of first-years. Defensively they hold opponents to a 32.7 field goal percent which is top in the ODAC and is 18th in all of Division III.

“My specialty is really defense,” said Flamini. “I mean, really offense everyone wants to play, everybody loves offense but no one loves defense. To me that’s where it really comes down to winning championships.”

On offense, their field goal percentage of 44.0 is ranked second in the ODAC and 23rd in Division in field goal percentage. The team has had some success even as they are learning and improving there is no telling the ceiling to this young team.

While the team has been doing well there is still a lot of improvement for the young team.