Tatyana Kelly has started each of the last 13 games for UMES this season, and has averaged 5.1 points per game. / SUBMITTED IMAGE
Written by Shawn Yonker (Staff Writer)
She decided as that season ended that she never wanted to play basketball again.
Good thing for her someone changed her mind.
The 6 foot, 3 inch sophomore forward is now a key piece of the future for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore women’s basketball team and has started each of the last 13 games, after missing the first 10 this season due to a broken hand.
“There was something about basketball that made me want to go back,” Kelly said. “Then once I got serious about AAU (at about 14), my AAU coach told me ‘We are going to make you into a Division I player.’”
Kelly made that her mission. She worked out with a trainer every day — sometimes twice a day.
Then she got good.
The phone call that eventually came from UMES assistant coach Cedric Jenkins peaked her interest immediately.
She had always wanted to come to an Historically Black College or University, and although she had never heard of UMES, she knew it was Division I and would have the close feel and strong culture she was looking for.
During her college search, she was seeking the closeness she didn’t have with her teammates as a tall and awkward young girl, but later found in the sixth grade with a school change.
Her height made the other kids ask if she played basketball. Her response was that she didn’t any more, until one day some close friends changed her mind.
So in a year’s time she went from “done” with basketball to a path that led her to the Hawks.
“At the time of my visit, it was an instant connection with the coaches, with the team and I loved the campus, so I felt like this was the right place to be,” Kelly said.
The adjustment to college wasn’t that hard for Kelly because she was used to working hard in the classroom and on the court. And coming to practice, where coach Fred Batchelor pushes her to get the most out of her, was completely comfortable.
Swish & Dish for Thursday, Feb. 27: GMC Preview
by Gregg Lerner on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 10:03 AM
Piscataway point guard Taylor Nelson looks to steer the second-seeded and defending champion Chiefs against upstart 12th-seed Bishop Ahr on Thursday in the Greater Middlesex County Tournament final.
Photo by Gregg Lerner
SWISH & DISH for Thursday, Feb. 27
GREATER MIDDLESEX CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
AT RUTGERS ATHLETIC CENTER
12-BISHOP AHR (16-8) vs. 2-PISCATAWAY (19-4), 6 p.m.
When last we metKendrea Williams clicked for 14 points and six rebounds and backcourt partner Kiki Bynes delivered 13 points and four assists when Piscataway registered a 51-41 decision over Bishop Ahr on Jan. 11. Jenna Harsh countered with 16 points and nine boards for Bishop Ahr. Piscataway used a 21-12 showing in the second quarter to build a 34-24 halftime lead, one that the Trojans cut in half by the start of the fourth quarter.
Bishop Ahr seeks its first GMC Tournament title since 2001 while defending champion Piscataway has been the county measuring stick for the last decade. The Chiefs aim for their 10th overall crown and six in nine years.
Players to watch
Bishop Ahr: The work ethic of forward Brianna Foster is vital and inspiring to the Trojans. The ultimate competitor on the boards, she is unequivocally the tone setter and energetic beacon that teammates dran from. Over the last nine games, Foster has averaged 13.6 rebounds and 11.2 points. She embodies all the qualities of an invaluable senior leader.
Piscataway: A reserved court demeanor does a fine job disguising the perimeter assassin that lurks with sophomore Kendrea Williams. In the Chiefs’ 62-48 semifinal triumph over Monroe, she connected on 5 of 10 from beyond the arc in providing a career-high 27 points. But, defenders beware: flash too quickly in attempt to close out, and the slick sophomore will have no problem introducing her speed to the basket off the dribble.
What to watch for
Bishop Ahr used an exclusive 2-3 zone in its 41-35 semifinal triumph over top-seeded East Brunswick to deter penetration and the defense may once again be the choice of coach Kevin Harper. Guard Lauren Barlow and Ragen Reddick close off the middle with Elle Cimilucca and Jenna Harsh getting to the wings to challenge shooters.
Piscataway shot 8 of 18 from 3-point range in the semifinals but can’t get overly enchanted with the shot. Sophomore point guard Taylor Nelson is a patient orchestrator and, along with Bynes will need to test the defense by getting into seams to strike an offensive balance in the halfcourt.
Foster shoulders a great deal of the rebounding load for Bishop Ahr but will need an assist from the 6-0 Harsh to contend with the Piscataway frontcourt of 5-9 Alliera McCoy and 5-10 junior reserve Wande Adeyemo. Bishop Ahr guards won’t be excluded from boxing out considering how quickly Bynes, Meaghan Wells and Nelson get to the glass.
Relying on its man-to-man, Piscataway must contest with a confidence Lauren Barlow. The sophomore gets to the rim and combines body control with a delicate touch. It also must ignore the size of Harsh that offers the perception of a low-post threat. While she can do a number underneath, her range from the perimeter demands equal respect.
Gregg Lerner covers girls basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner
Williams’ 27 paces Piscataway in GMC semis
by Gregg Lerner on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 11:02 PM
Updated Tue, Feb 25, 2014 2:44 PM
With a silky release to match her smooth court etiquette, Kendrea Williams is outfitted with all the accoutrements to alter the complexion of a game in an instant.
The soft spoken and mild-manner impression the 5-8 Piscataway sophomore casts is genuine but the warmth of her personality was no match Monday night when measured against the heat emitting from her accurate right hand.
With the steady aim of a marksman, Williams caught fire from 3-point range in the opening quarter, hitting three consecutive treys. When you’re as hot as she was, there comes a battle with temptation, to keep firing away until out of ammo. But, Williams is smarter than that.
“I needed to keep balance,” she said in regard to offsetting her long-distance shooting with dribble penetration. “Because they know I’m a shooter, I have to switch it up. When a defender comes out on me, then I drive to the basket.”
It was the string of threes that got second-seeded and defending champion Piscataway an early lead and it never relinquished the grip, pulling away for a 62-48 victory over third-seeded Monroe on Monday night in the first of two Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament semifinals played at South Brunswick High School.
The Chiefs (19-4), winners of seven straight, will meet 12th-seeded Bishop Ahr (16-8), which eliminated East Brunswick (16-5), the top seed, 41-35, in the nightcap, on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
Williams played a big part in Piscataway’s return engagement, shooting 10 of 19 from the field, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range, on her way to a career-high 27 points. Her fast start, which counted four jumpers, all beyond 18 feet, yielded 11 points in the first quarter and was enough to put Piscataway in front, 18-17.
The perimeter assault extended Monroe’s matchup a little further and opened up some lanes for the Chiefs to explore off the dribble. It was Williams who led that new course of attack with a layup to start the second quarter as the offensive operations moved inside the arc.
Junior guard Cindy Foresta, who scored a team-high 15 points, converted underneath for Monroe to trim Piscataway’s advantage to 24-23 with 3:19 left in the first half. The Chiefs responded with a 7-0 run powered by senior guard Kiki Bynes, who sank a tough baseline turnaround and backed that by teaming with junior point guard Taylor Nelson on a trap at midcourt, resulting in Bynes racing in for a layup and a 31-23 cushion.
“We still have to attack,” Piscataway coach Corey Floyd said, emphasizing how important penetration is to the overall plan. “We want to split the defense off the dribble with Kiki and Taylor. Once they collapse, we’re kicking it out Kendrea. That’s our forte.”
Bynes, who complemented Williams with 23 points, flaunted her exterior touch in the third, burying consecutive threes to spark a 12-2 burst that broke the contest wide open and built a 46-32 margin with 2:16 showing in the third. Not to be left out of the perimeter party, one that resulted in eight 3-pointers, Williams contributed her fourth to the burst while Nelson supplied half of her eight points to the surge.
By the time Williams drained the last of her five treys, Piscataway was comfortably in charge, 62-43. The last, a credit to Bynes, who had worked the Monore defense with her elusiveness off the dribble to stick three successive pull-ups to draw defenders toward the middle, thus setting up her kick out for Williams’ jumper.
“The same way we switch up out defense, going from 1-3-1 to zone to man, we like to switch up our offense,” Bynes said of the unpredictablity that can’t be overlooked. “Then, teams can’t figure out how to defend us. When I saw them leak out on Kendrea more, I went inside because that’s what I’m strong at.”
Sophomore forward Alliera McCoy grabbed 10 rebounds for Piscataway and Nelson dished out five assists. Junior Erica Junquet and sophomore Ashlyn Petersen each finished with 10 points for Monroe. Erin Seppi, a 5-10 sophomore forward, cleared nine boards for the Falcons while Petersen and Foresta added seven apiece.
Monroe (20-3) 17 11 06 14—48
Piscataway (19-4) 18 13 19 12—62
Monroe: Demi Rousseau 3-0-0-6; Erica Junquet 2-1-3-10; Cindy Foresta 4-1-4-15; Nichole Tatte 0-0-0-0; Erin Seppi 1-0-2-4; Ashlyn Petersen 3-1-1-10. Totals: 13-4-10—48.
Piscataway: Kiki Bynes 7-3-0-23; Meaghan Wells 0-0-0-0; Kelsey Nugent 0-0-0-0; Wande Adeyemo 1-0-0-2; Alliera McCoy 0-0-2-2; Kendrea Williams 5-5-2-27; Taylor Nelson 3-0-2-8. Totals: 16-8-6—62.
Gregg Lerner covers girls basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner
Jasmine Walker (North Brunswick, N.J./North Brunswick) had a career-high 20 points and 13 rebounds for her second-career double-double!
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Jasmine Walker (North Brunswick, N.J./North Brunswick) had a career-high 20 points and 13 rebounds for her second-career double-double, but the Monmouth University women’s basketball team fell at HourGlass Rival Rider, 74-64, Wednesday night at Alumni Gym. With the loss, the Hawks fall to 6-22 (5-12 MAAC), while the Broncs improve to 13-13 (9-8 MAAC).
Walker did her damage on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor, including a conversion on her only three-point attempt, and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. Her other double-double this season (13 points, 10 rebounds) also came against Rider on Jan. 5 in West Long Branch. Sara English (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West [UMass]) added 10 points and six rebounds, while Chevannah Paalvast (Auckland, New Zealand/Massey) had nine points, five rebounds and three steals. Danica Dragicevic (Belgrade, Serbia/XV Beogradska Gimnazija) and Jenny Horvatinovic (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion Area) chipped in with six points apiece, while Helena Kurt (Spanga, Sweden/Igelstavikens Gymnasium) contributed five points and a career-high five assists.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
During her sophomore season, Kendrea Williams has continued to improve and show off her skills, as she’s become a go-to scorer for Piscataway. She leads the team with 14.5 points per game, thanks to her pin-point accuracy on jump shots. Along with her scoring ability, Williams has also improved as a defender and a rebounder, and she has helped Piscataway move to 11-3 on the season. Click Here To Read Article…
As the game clock ticked away Tuesday night, Sayreville High School girls basketball star Jackie Rodriguez took over.
Trailing for the first time all night, Rodriguez calmly knocked down a game-tying 3-pointer and then made 3-4 free throws inside in the final minute, helping Sayreville edge Colonia 44-40.
The rescuing act has become standard for Rodriguez this season, as the senior point guard has averaged 22.6 points per game, helping the Bombers to a 10-3 record.
“We haven’t had a point guard like her in a long time,” Sayreville head coach Tara Currie said. “To have a player like her a huge for our team; she handles the ball so well and it helps us be successful. She’s grown a lot for us this year, dishing to teammates and learning not to do everything by herself. But I’m sure glad to have her on the team.”
Rodriguez, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark against J.P. Stevens last week, and Sayreville have made the Greater Middlesex Conference’s White Division a four-team race with six games to play, as South Plainfield, Sayreville, Monroe and Bishop Ahr are all mathematically alive to win the division.
Kadijah Mathews (16 points, Senior), Kyra Fox (16 points, Junior), Alexzandra Walker (5 points, Freshman) combined for 37 of the total 42 points scored for North Brunswick as they battled South Plainfield. North Brunswick went to South Plainfield needing a total team effort on the offensive and defensive side of the ball in order to return home victorious last night. Although the boxscore does not reflect all the individual contributions the team played hard but fell short of a victory. The Raiders will try to get back to 500 tonight as they take on Monroe at home. Click Here for more details…
Brittany Clayton scored 21 points to lead Cardinal McCarrick to a 52-33 victory over Highland Park in South Amboy.
Shannon McCleery added nine points for Cardinal McCarrick, while Brianna Collado finished with eight points.