Thursday, June 18, 2015

Updated Comings and Goings Part I: Old Dominion

Aneesah Daniels

Today we begin our 13-part series we call Comings and Goings that allows us to take a look at roster changes, both hellos and goodbyes, for each of the state's team.

We start with Old Dominion, which finished 21-13 a year ago, falling in the second round of the WNIT.

Who's gone

Departing seniors: Tiffany Minor, F; Chelisa Painter, F
Also not returning: Ashley Betz-White, G (redshirt junior graduated in May and has moved to Tampa for a job in pharmaceuticals)
Transfers: Maia Lee, F (headed for Towson, has 3 years eligibility beginning in 2016-17)

Minor and Painter had almost identical stat lines as seniors, each averaging just over 7 points and 4 rebounds. Minor was perhaps most valuable on defense and actually led the team in minutes played. Painter's offense was in spurts, and she will be particularly missed as a rebounder. Betz-White, meanwhile, was the most capable ballhandler on a team that suddenly is without a known quantity at point guard (Galaisha Goodhope would be a senior this year but was dismissed from the team and will play at VCU this fall).

The 6-3 Lee played a total of 23 minutes as a freshman and will sit out a year before getting a shot to play for one of the most promising coaches in the game in Niki Reid Geckeler, who led Howard to back-to-back 20-win seasons before taking over as Tigers coach in 2013.

Who's coming

Gianna Smith, 5-10 G/F, Norfolk (Lake Taylor)
   - 16.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 2.8 assists as a senior
   - First-team All-Tidewater by The Virginian-Pilot
   - First Team All-State

Rhaven Kemp, 5-6 G, Jackson, Tenn. (Eastern Florida State Junior College)
  - 3.4 ppg and 1.3 apg as a sophomore
  - All-time assist leader at Liberty Tech High (571)

Carolina Bernardeco, 5-4 G, Lisbon, Portugal
 - 17-year-old who played point guard for U-18, U-16 Portuguese national team

Makayla Timmons, 5-7 G, Columbia, Tenn. (Columbia Central)
 - All-time leading scorer (1,640 points); also holds school records in high jump and long jump
- MVP of her district as a senior
- Second team All-USA Tennessee
- Played for four different coaches in high school

Aneesah Daniels, 6-0 F, Decatur, Ga., (Clemson, Alabama)
- Redshirt senior who is immediately eligible as she graduated from Clemson in May. Has not played since the 2011-12 season at Alabama; scored 7 points and 6 rebounds for Alabama in Paradise Jam (Virgin Islands) game against the Lady Monarchs -- which was Karen Barefoot's first victory at ODU; Never played at Clemson after sitting out a year and being sidelined the following year with a neck injury

Assistant coach Jermaine Woods replacing Richard Fortune, now at VCU. Norfolk native Woods comes to ODU from Virginia Tech and will be reunited with Smith, who played her first three years at Maury High where he was coach.

Karen Barefoot's collection of guards looks impressive on paper, but we give the nod to Kemp to get the early playing time given her junior college experience. While her numbers don't overwhelm, she came off the bench, saving her best game for postseason -- an 18-point effort in the NJCAA Region VIII tournament. She will be a junior and could challenge sophomore Ashley Jackson for point guard.

The ODU faithful with Ticha memories still lingering fondly in their minds will clamor to see Bernardeco, but adjusting to the American game will be part of her learning curve. Smith and Timmons both come in as promising freshmen on a team that needs to find somebody besides Jennie Simms to share the offensive load. Given Daniels has only one year, she's the logical choice, but conditioning will be key as she's sat out for three seasons.

Note: Tyshara Fleming, the 6-4 center from Virginia Beach's Salem High, who went to Northwest Florida State College in 2013 with the intent of transferring to ODU in two years, committed to Florida in January. She averaged 7 points and 7 rebounds in one year of junior college play.

1 comment:

  1. The ODU women have had an almost surreal existence the past few years. A legendary coach long past her expiration date finally hit the door. And a new era began.
    But not without a great deal of drama over the past two years. Just as we thought the women were about to make their move last year, the rolling stone we knew as Shea Kelly got the wandering eyes again and headed for the Big Ten's Minnesota. I don't know that it helped her but it killed us. I'm pretty sure Shea played for at least two different high schools, so it's not like the move was out of character. But to my mind she was an increadable "if only".
    She could make a shot from anywhere at anytime against about anyone. But we were very personnel limited everywhere else. We were recruiting some good talent but , but Shea wasn't waiting to see how things turned out.
    Then this past year arrived. Except for Jenni Sims, I thought the ladies, with enough talent to win six more games, were all trying out for a day time soap opera none of the rest of us were aware of. The team had talent for sure. But they also had depression, schizophrenia, mood disorders and highs and lows from one game to the next that should have put coach Barefoot in a rubber room. They thrashed very good teams, then gave a couple others their only win.
    At the end of the season, I believe it was tournament bound Western Kentucky that got to see our good team, and just got out the door alive. It must have been frightening for our opponents to be shooting their warm up shots before the game. Taking furtive glances at our team, trying to identify signs of which team they were playing.
    I've heard it said about teams that you never knew which one was going to show up. But we could field 10 players all beating to a different drummer, and often still manage to win. Coach Barefoot's zen management was tested early and often, to include before the season even began with this crowd.
    The psychodrama mentioned above was hardly limited to their playing time. They also had some dorm moves that were really special. Your own team members not up to the challenge, find yourself a big from the men's team and paste him a few times. What our girls sometimes lacked in style, they easily made up for in intensity.
    Lest anyone think I'm not a fan of this rambuncious group of student athletes, you would be totally wrong. They're kids. Most of them are pretty darn intelligent. Yes, Sometimes they acted like somebody spiked their sippy cups, but that was part of their charm.
    Now we have an entirely new group of kids getting ready to add their personalities and talents to the mix. I can't tell you how excited I am to see them take to the court. We'll have our first real idea what coach Barefoot thinks, if at our first game she takes her position on the sidelines holding a whip and a chair.