Washington Leads Archers to Region XVI Title
St. Louis Community College women's basketball head coach Shelly Ethridge was looking for the program's third straight trip to the NJCAA Division II Women's Championship Tournament.
To get to this game, the Archers received help from a late-season addition.
Sophomore guard Chanese Washington (Mehlville) didn't suit up for STLCC until Jan. 10, her first game as an Archer after transferring from Lindenwood University-Belleville (Ill.). In that game -- a 61-48 loss against State Fair Community College -- Washington scored just three points.
Fortunately, when the team needed a boost, Washington was there. She led the team with 22 points in the 66-54 win over Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley in the Region XVI championship game on March 3.
"I played hard and then we got a good outcome from it," Washington said. "I just feel like everybody came out to play and everybody really wanted it -- wanted to win.
Washington said she started playing basketball around fifth and sixth grade, and her father and brother influenced her to play the game. She graduated from Mehville High School in 2011, where she was named to the all-district team all four years for the Panthers. While at Mehlville, she led the Panthers in points, steals and assists all four years. She crossed the river to play for the Lynx after graduation. In her freshman year, she scored 162 points in 23 games. After a season at Lindenwood-Belleville, Washington then made the decision to transfer to STLCC.
"I wanted to get under some good coaches and be a part of a better team," Washington said. "I wanted to get better as a person on and off the court. I thought (STLCC) would be a good choice."
So far, in 2013, Washington has netted 202 points in just 15 games -- an average of 13.5 points per game.
Ethridge said the team was "lucky" to have Washington transfer from the Lindenwood-Belleville to add to the Archers' skill.
"She brings to the table for us speed, quickness, outside shooting ability," Ethridge said. "She's a strong-body guard, so that's very beneficial for us as well. She's a scorer. She's fairly difficult to guard, so she can draw some defense out and make the inside open for us."
In the championship game against MCC-Penn Valley, Washington was four for eight from beyond the arc and also made four of her five free throws. Her career high in points as an Archer was 25 in a 68-49 win over North Central Missouri College on Feb. 16. And in her last 12 games, Washington has cracked double digits in points nine times.
"Hustle plays are pretty much helping me get my points," Washington said about her key to her success this season.
Washington and her Archer teammates will have the chance to keep the season going with a win over North Arkansas College in the District P title game on Saturday, March 9 at 2 p.m. at STLCC-Forest Park.
Story by Tim Doty