In what has become almost an annual tradition for the St. Louis Community College women’s basketball team under head coach Shelly Ethridge, the Archers collected their 20th victory of the year Wednesday in an 87-67 rout of Three Rivers Community College.
The victory was highlighted by sophomore guard Deborah Holcomb, who entered the game just 15 points shy of 1,000 for her Archers career. The Denton, Tex., native reached the milestone on a free throw just 11 minutes into the game. Holcomb finished the evening with a game-high 28 points. She becomes the first-ever Archers player to surpass the 1,000-point plateau.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Holcomb said following Wednesday’s game. “It feels like I’m progressing, but it doesn’t feel like I’m ‘there’ yet.”
Wednesday’s milestone was simply the latest in a year that has placed Holcomb into the conversation as an NJCAA All-American. She entered Wednesday averaging 25.1 points per game, good for second-best in the nation.
“It’s really impressive, because it’s hard to score 500 points for two seasons,” Ethridge said of her star guard. “I’m just really blessed to be able to coach a player like that.”
The real honor she hopes to achieve, however, is a trip to the NJCAA Tournament. The Archers made back-to-back appearances in the tournament prior to Holcomb’s arrival on campus, but lost in the Region XVI title game last year, when Holcomb was a freshman.
“We’ve become a family now, and the game feels better now,” Holcomb said. “Two weeks ago, we’re just upset after a loss, and now we just know what we’re doing. Everything we do is a buildup. Our coaches have helped us to realize that at the end, we put everything we’ve worked on together. We have to define our system, and I think that’s what’s working for us.”
Wednesday’s win marked the third time in the past four seasons that STLCC has reached 20 victories.
The Archers (20-6 overall, 3-2 Region XVI) are a combined 77-29 under Ethridge since the 2011-12 season.
Up next for the Archers will be a trip to Cottey College on Saturday, before concluding the regular season with consecutive Region XVI games at Wentworth Military Academy (Feb. 17) and at home against Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley (Feb. 21).