Women’s Basketball Notebook: James among three seniors who play for final time
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Wright State guard Ivory James led Wright State’s scorers with 16 Saturday in her final contest in a Raiders’ uniform in WSU’s 106-60 loss to Kentucky.
James capped off a two-year career at Wright State participating in WSU’s first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. James said she was upset about how the game went, but appreciated the experience of participating in the dance.
“I feel like we played hard so that is all that matters,” James said. “It does not take anything away. We worked all year to get here and that is all that matters. We handled our business all year and it was a pleasure to get here.”
James was the only WSU senior who had a significant factor in Saturday’s contest. Forward Ja’Monica Orton played the final two minutes and KC Elkins played on a torn ACL for the final six seconds.
“They have been great,” Wright State head coach Mike Bradbury said. “Ivory, Ja’Monica, KC have been through the good and the bad. They have been tremendous. We wouldn’t have been here without them.”
James, a Monroe, NJ native, transferred from Monroe Community College after sophomore season. After starting 13 games for the Raiders last year, she started in all 33 contests this season.
Though James led the Raiders in scoring Saturday, she only shot 20 percent from the field.
“It wasn’t a good night for us,” she said. “We didn’t make the shots we usually.”
Elkins limped onto the court
With the Raiders trailing by 46, Bradbury drew a few boos from the Kentucky fateful when he used a timeout with six seconds left. The timeout was to give Elkins one final appearance in a WSU uniform.
Elkins tore her left ACL in the Horizon League title game last Sunday. Though she was an important member of the Raiders this year, all she could do was watch as her team struggled against Kentucky.
When the opportunity came late, she left her crutches on the bench and joined her team on the court to finish the most winning season in WSU history.
Bradbury said playing Elkins was an idea he had before the game.
“We talked about it,” he said. “If the game was out of hand either way, we were going to try to get her in.”
Elkins was appreciative of the opportunity to appear in the NCAA Tournament. Elkins did not know her coach was planning on letting her play; all she was told was to be dressed.
“It was nice, it has been a long week but it made me feel good to get in,” Elkins said. “It meant a lot. It has always been a dream since I was little and I got to do that today.”
Elkins was part of three 20-win seasons for WSU and set the school record for most games played at 125.
CJ grad too much for WSU
Dayton native and Chaminade-Julienne grad Samarie Walker was too much for WSU inside. The UK forward scored 12 and grabbed 14 boards.
Walker, a transfer from UConn, has been a significant factor for Kentucky in her senior campaign leading the Wildcats to the round of 32. She leads the team in rebounds with nine a game.
Walker said after the game it was nice to play in a game against players she knows.
“Rebounding is always an emphasis for us,” Walker said. “We had a size advantage, there was no reason for us to lose the boards today.”
Orton, a grad of Stebbins High School, has crossed paths with Walker since the eighth grade. She expected a tough challenge from Walker.
“She was a big defensive player in high school as you can see,” Orton said. “She was the No. 1 player in the nation coming out of high school so she was a big threat.”
Orton said she knows Walker semi-personally.
“It is a friendly competition but we tried to leave it out on the court,” Orton said. “She has had a great year here at UK. She is a potential player at the next level.”
WSU forward Tayler Stanton had 10 offensive rebounds for her second consecutive game… Guard Kim Demmings finished her junior season with 1977 career points and is the second leading scorer in WSU history. She will need 23 to reach the 2,000 plateau and 78 points to catch Jodi Martin as the all-time leader in points at WSU…