Story by: Tait Brooks Photo Credit: Kristie Cloud - JCFloridan.com
The Chipola Lady Indians, still sitting at number one in the nation in the Junior College Women's Basketball polls, managed 62 points in the first half against Georgia Highlands College on Friday night, with four of the Lady Indian starters in double digits. Chipola would go on to win, 90-48. Jayla Hobza and Evelyn Akator each had 20 points, followed by Sueterrica Key with 18 points, and Rosemarie Julien with 15.
Most of those were off of first-half efforts. Chipola got off to a hot start, shooting 9-for-17 from behind the arc, and 23-of-33 from 2-point range in the first half. Hobza led the way with 16 points, 4 rebounds, two 3-pointers, and a block. But in the second half, while the rest of the Lady Indians seemed to be coasting, Akhator turned things up a notch, sinking 12 of Chipola's 28 second-half points, with 10 rebounds and a block.
After the sluggish start from Akhator, Chipola head coach Greg Franklin told her at halftime, "You're hiding from the basketball way too much. We've got to have you say, 'I'm going to go get a bucket right here, or I'm going to get a foul.'" She obviously got the message, ending up at 8-for-10 from the field, and pulling in 15 rebounds for the Lady Indians. Janisha Lindsey was also a big part of Akhator's second half success, feeding her 5 assists to total 7 on the night.
"I thought it was a tremendous first half, not because we were making shots but because our intensity level and our attention to detail was there," said Franklin. "It just shows me what kind of team we can be."
"But as happy as I was about the first half I was so unhappy about the second. I thought we exhaled and I didn't think we showed a lot of maturity as a team. We kind of rested, saying let's just slide through this, instead of looking at this as an opportunity for 20 more min for us to get better as a team. And that's upsetting."
While Chipola managed 11 steals from its full-court press defense, even in that Franklin noted some room for growth. "The way we're going to play as a press and trap team, if we're going to foul someone we gotta foul them with our hips…we can't foul them with our hands."
"You got freshman and sophomores who aren't used to playing with each other, so it's gonna take a little time. I'm encouraged by the fact that we are 11-0, but I know we got a long ways to go."