Originally published November 11, 2021.
On Tuesday night, the Old Dominion University Women’s Basketball team played a wonderful game of basketball against South Carolina State. Beating them by a total of 28 points (80-52), this was their largest margin of the game. In just about every quarter, they out played the Bulldogs. Throughout the first and second quarters, the Monarchs were holding on to a 15 to 20 point lead. It was the third quarter in which the Monarchs became stagnant and lost pace. However, they picked up the intensity early in the fourth quarter as they went on a 14-0 scoring run. According to Coach Milton-Jones, the stagnance came from not setting, not boxing out, and simply relying on athletic abilities. When asked what caused the Monarchs to pick up the intensity, she stated “I challenged them to clean things up. We will have to start being disciplined in terms of how we play. The athleticism and the skill sets that we have as individuals, if we can attach technique to that then we’ll be stellar, so I challenged them.”
The Monarchs starting five were definitely up for the challenge, as they each scored in double figures. Ajah Wayne and Iggy Allen both had 15 apiece with Kaye Clark and Amari Young both getting 11 apiece. Last but not least, there was starting point guard Mariah Adams with 10 points. When it comes to managing such stellar talent, Coach Milton-Jones’ philosophy is simple: “let the ball find the open player.” She noted that spacing is the team’s best friend because it allows her players to create and do what they need to do. “Now it’s their job to make good decisions and I trust them and their teammates trust them to do so. And it all works out,” she said.
In their first official regular season game as Monarchs, Allen and Clark both put on a show. On top of her 15 points, Allen grabbed seven rebounds and got three steals. She was three rebounds shy of a double-double, which is of no surprise, as last season she averaged a double double. When asked about their performances, both players mentioned that they couldn’t have done it without their coaches or teammates. Of her performance, Allen said “Well none of it would be possible without my teammates. The great coaching strategy the coaches put together. So overall it was just them and I executed.” In addition, when asked about how it felt to put on a great performance in front of Monarch Nation for the first time, Clark said “It felt great honestly, just being able to be on the floor with my teammates. The coaches give me all of the positive energy. My teammates on the bench and even myself having the most confidence and giving it my all.”
Coach had very high praise for both Allen and Clark, as they were named the top performers of the game. In her eyes, Allen is a WNBA prototype who has the ability to be in the WNBA draft. “We are going to try to showcase her while making sure that whatever she’s doing is helping the program. And now the program can help put her in a position to be able to be noticed and recognize her talents to be drafted,” said Milton-Jones. Moreover, when turning her focus to Clark, she explained that most of the things Clark does will never show up on a stat sheet, as she does just about everything on the court. Hence her 11 points, four steals, five rebounds, and one block. Coach Milton-Jones stated “You can appreciate a player like her because she can create offense for us just through her defensive efforts alone.”
Though the Monarchs earned their first regular season win of 2021-2022, Coach Milton-Jones gave them a C+ grade. She did note that she is a tough grader so there is no surprise that the team earned a C+. “I’m giving us a C+ because I’m expecting more consistency on both ends of the floor from us,” she said. Milton-Jones looks forward to the team’s upcoming game against Auburn. She believes this game “will be the clash of two juggernauts who are hungry for their win.” The team will be practicing hard at an elite level throughout the course of this week because it is their goal to get wins this season. “It’s going to be performed at a high level. There’s no time for rest, we have work to do,” Milton-Jones noted.
The Monarchs will be playing against Auburn on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. in the Chartway Arena. Coach looks forward to seeing a packed arena, as she said “I want this place to be filled because we need it rocking when Auburn comes to town, we need this place rocking.”