Agnes Scott's women's basketball team began January with a roster depleted by injuries and other attrition, but the Scotties have held it together with a first-year Gwinnett grad as head coach.
Former Norcross standout Alex Stewart, despite having only eight players available each night, has her first team 13-8 overall and 6-3 in the Great South Athletic Conference. Its goals of winning the conference tourney and advancing to nationals are still attainable.
"I'm very happy here," said Stewart, who was an assistant the previous two seasons at the Decatur school which has less than 1,000 students, all females. "I couldn't have asked for a better situation, a better group of kids. They've worked their butts off. To finish the season with eight kids and a winning record is great."
Stewart relies heavily on one Gwinnett grad, Evan Joslin of Greater Atlanta Christian.
Joslin, a chemistry major, averages 10.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2 assists and like most Scotties, rarely leaves the floor. Her biggest game came in a 76-70, double-overtime win over LaGrange where she had 30 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
"Evan does a phenomenal job for us," Stewart said. "She's a ball magnet. She just gravitates toward the ball. Her hustle and her heart, nine times out of 10, exceeds that of the other team."
Stewart has her team playing up-tempo, although she doesn't use the press as much as she'd like because of her lack of depth. The 27-year-old found her way to Agnes Scott after a stellar career at Georgia Tech, where she earned All-ACC honors and was a three-time captain. She also played one season in Keflavik, Iceland.
Since returning she has focused on starting a coaching career, one that she hopes will eventually lead to a job at a Division I-A school. But for now she's happy to be learning the trade at tiny Agnes Scott, where she also serves as sports information director.
"It's been about what I've expected in my first year (as head coach)," said Stewart, a two-time Daily Post girls player of the year in 1998 and 1999. "The biggest change is all the responsibility falls on me now. When I talk to my ex-head coach, she always second-guessed herself on decisions and I fully understand that now."
Williams scores 1,000th career point
Collins Hill grad Ashley Williams, a senior at Georgia College and State University, collected her 1,000th career point last weekend, when she scored 19 in a loss to Augusta State.
She also had 12 rebounds in the game, her fourth double-double of the season, along with four blocks.
Peterson earns Gulf South honor, tops 1,000
Valdosta State guard Carley Peterson, a Parkview grad, was named the Gulf South Conference East Division Player of the Week earlier this week after reaching the 1,000-point plateau for her career.
The senior had 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in a win over West Alabama and she followed it with 17 points and four steals in a victory over Montevallo. She made 6 of 8 field goals, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, in the Montevallo game.
Geiger named SoCon's athlete of the week
Parkview grad Jessica Geiger, a sophomore on Georgia Southern's basketball team, was named the Southern Conference Student-Athlete of the Week earlier this week.
Geiger averaged 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists the previous week in victories over UNC-Greensboro and Elon. She averages 7.2 points and 4.8 rebounds.
She also maintains a cumulative 4.0 GPA with a major in marketing.
"She has the respect of every one of her teammates because she gets it done on and off the court," Eagles coach Rusty Cram said of Geiger. "She's the epitome of an NCAA Division I student-athlete. I'm proud of her and happy for her."
Big week for Clark
Georgia College and State University senior Aaron Clark had a nice week.
The Collins Hill grad scored a career-high 31 points Wednesday in an 84-72 win over North Georgia, then was named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III Team the following day. He maintains a 3.7 GPA in marketing.
Clark made 10 of 17 shots against North Georgia and had 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double in the past five games. His previous career high was 29 points in last year's Peach Belt Conference Tournament.
Parkview grad Ty Rowland, a teammate of Clark's at Georgia College, had 10 points and five assists in the victory over North Georgia.
Luckhurst, other Wolves shining in college
Wesleyan grad Nikki Luckhurst, a senior and team captain on Tulane's women's basketball team, has made 169 career 3-pointers, which ranks her fourth in school history.
The guard, just five 3-pointers away from third all-time, averages 8.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
She's just one of several Wolves excelling in college.
Sarah Moye averages 3.2 points and 5.4 rebounds for the College of Charleston with a highlight game of 11 points and eight rebounds against Wake Forest. Fellow Wesleyan grads Carolyn and Elise Whitney play at Georgia Southern. Carolyn starts at poing guard, averaging 6.3 points and 3.3 assists, while Elise was the team's top 3-point shooter until suffering a season-ending knee injury. Elise had 14 points against Arkansas.
Wesleyan grad Le Le LeSeur, now at Bucknell, is primarily a reserve as a sophomore but has started twice, while former teammate Sarah Delk averages 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 points as a freshman at Brown.
Auburn's Puckett gets SEC award
Auburn junior Lindsey Puckett, a Providence Christian grad, was named SEC Gymnast of the Week on Tuesday after winning the all-around title at N.C. State the previous week.
Puckett scored 39.325 to win the all-around championship in a quad meet at N.C. State and also placed first on the vault with a 9.900. She also was second on the beam at 9.825 and tied for third on bars at 9.825.
She is ranked 23rd nationally in the all-around by GymInfo.
Palmer named to ACC team
Parkview grad Michael Palmer was named to the ACC All-Academic Team earlier this week. Palmer, Clemson's starting tight end, had 13 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown last season.
South grads getpreseason honor
Georgia Southern sophomores Sam Russo and Jenny Side, both South Gwinnett grads, were named to the Preseason All-Southern Conference softball's second team. Russo hit a team-high .375 last season with three home runs and 16 RBIs, while Side led the Eagles in homers (nine), RBIs (27) and slugging percentage (.434).
Four locals lauded for perfect GPAs
Four student-athletes from Gwinnett who go to Georgia College and State University were honored this week for maintaining 4.0 GPAs.
Those students were runners Rob Elliot of South Gwinnett and Patricia Dedrick of Berkmar and soccer players Mary Byrne of Collins Hill and Emily Norris of Central Gwinnett.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax to 770-339-8081.