Lady Wolves ready for South scramble

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 7, 2003

WESSON – Undefeated and ranked No. 7 in the nation, theCopiah-Lincoln Community College Lady Wolves tackle the meat oftheir South Division schedule in the 2003 portion of the campaign.They are 12-0 overall and 2-0 in the South.

Co-Lin has made an impressing showing in the first half of theseason, led by sophomore All-American guard Tiania Burns. The LadyWolves lost two starting post players and a starting guard fromlast year’s state and regional champion which advanced to the NJCAANational Tournament in Salina, Kan.

Friday was the first practice of the new year for the LadyWolves. All members of the team remain eligible for the second halfof the season.

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Co-Lin head coach Gwyn Young said he was pleased with the firsthalf of the season. “I thought we had a real good first semester.We did some pretty good things going into the break. We werestarting to do some things team-wise that were good.”

The South Division race heats up after Co-Lin plays anon-division game Thursday night at Delgado Community College inNew Orleans. The Lady Wolves host Jones County Jan. 13 and visitPearl River Jan. 16.

“Our competition will get tougher night-after night,” saidYoung. “Hopefully, we can step it up a notch and learn from eachgame.”

Southwest is ranked No. 21 in the nation and is among severalSouth team in the title chase. “Pearl River is playing well andEast Central beat them,” said Young. “East Central has a bunch ofyoung players who are coming around and starting to play well.

“I haven’t seen Southwest yet but I’m sure they have a goodbunch.”

Depth has been a positive factor for the Lady Wolves thisseason. “Our bench coming in the game has been doing a real goodjob for us. (Substitution) doesn’t take away from our game. Thishas been real positive for our practice sessions, too. It makeseverybody work harder.”

Young said Burns has improved her overall game. “She knowswhat’s going on. Our other sophomores know what we expect of themand that makes a big difference.”

Burns, a 5-8 playmaker from Nashville, Tenn., leads the teamwith a 26.5 points per game average. She is making 63 percent ofher 2-point field goal attempts and 43 percent from the 3-pointline. Burns makes 74 percent of her free throws while averaging 4.9rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

Co-Lin sophomore center Shaquita Smith of Union Church averages12.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Freshman forward LorettaMartin of Kenner, La. averages 9.2 points and 6.0 rebounds.Freshman forward Victoria Richardson of Hazlehurst averages 8.9 ppgand 4.3 rpg.

Other leading scorers and rebounders for the Lady Wolves aresophomore forwards Nikki Blakely (5.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and LindseyAltman of Brookhaven (4.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg), freshman guard NatashaFunchess (3.7 ppg) of Magee, freshman guard Wanda Calvin (3.5 ppg,3.0 rpg) of Vicksburg and sophomore guard Ayme Beeson (3.2 ppg) ofCalhoun, La.

Beeson, a starter at point guard, is averaging 7.4 assists and2.0 steals per game.

As a team, the Lady Wolves average 88.5 points and 39.5 reboundsper game. They are making 51 percent of their field goal attemptsand 32 percent from 3-point land. They average 60.6 percent fromthe free throw line.

Opponents average 53.3 points per game.

In the NJCAA Poll, Gulf Coast Community College of Panama City,Fla. is ranked No. 1. Seward of Liberal, Kan., is No. 2 and TrinityValley of Athens, Texas is No. 3. Ranked fourth is Wabash Valley ofMt. Carmel, Ill. Daytona Beach (Fla.) is No. 5 and Ft. Smith (Ark.)is No. 6.