As the regular season approaches its final stretch, the St. Louis Community College women’s basketball team seems to have found its rhythm. It’s not as if the Archers, at 19-6, found themselves struggling in the face of opposition often this year.
However, as displayed in Saturday’s 99-69 rout of North Central Missouri College, the team currently taking the floor for head coach Shelly Ethridge is a very different one than even two weeks ago.
The outcome was never really in doubt Saturday, as the Archers, led by standout guard Deborah Holcomb, surged to a 47-32 halftime lead and never let up. That represented a stark change from the last meeting between the two teams, when STLCC relinquished a second-half lead en route to a 78-70 road loss.
“I thought we played exceptionally well, and we need to keep it where we are right now,” Ethridge said. “We got a lot of really good minutes from a lot of people. This is the time that we need to start rolling, so this couldn’t have come at a better time.”
For Holcomb’s part, the sophomore piled up a game-high 32 points. That pushed her to a career total of 985 points, which puts her in reach of becoming the first Archers player to attain 1,000. Holcomb could reach the milestone as soon as Wednesday, when the Archers will host Three Rivers College. For the year, she is ranked second in the nation with 25.1 points per game.
“I’ve just been blessed to be able to coach a player like her, and I hope our players realize that they’re lucky to have that opportunity (to play alongside her),” Ethridge said. “She makes it look easy. The kid is amazing and it’s just a pleasure to coach her.”
As for the Archers’ late-season push, the team rounding into form near the conclusion of the regular season should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Archers closely in recent years. It resembles that of the two national tournament appearances the women’s team made in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
“It’s about becoming a family,” Ethridge said. “If we can instill that in our kids, it happens. If they don’t believe in the system, then it’s going it struggle, but nine times out of 10, we can get them to believe.”
- The Archers will honor their sophomores Saturday, Feb. 21, in the team’s home finale against Penn Valley. Along with Holcomb, honorees will be Khalilah Morrow, Tiara Bradley, Dajae Williams, Brandy Ward and Lorielle Little.
- The game has also been designated the team’s “Cancer Awareness” game. The team will be selling T-shirts to commemorate the event, and all proceeds will benefit local individuals currently battling cancer.