Sunday, February 9, 2003

Hughes' Coleman a sharpshooter in college, too


Buckeye senior leads the nation in FG pct.

By Ryan Ernst
Cincinnati Enquirer

Courtney Coleman didn't have to work very hard in high school to be good at basketball. She'll be the first to admit it.

At 6 feet 1, she was taller than most other high school players. And those who matched her size were outmatched by her athleticism.

"In high school I didn't have to lift weights or condition," she said. "I was pretty athletic and I could really get out and run the floor a lot."

A one-dimensional scorer in the post as a senior at Hughes, Coleman stepped up her defense and rebounding. She averaged 17 points, 15.9 rebounds and 4.6 steals a game and ran away with the Queen City Conference Player of the Year award. Even more impressive, she shot 66 percent from the floor and earned a scholarship to Ohio State.

Now a Buckeyes senior, Coleman is stepping up her game and earning attention. The co-captain of the 25th-ranked Buckeyes leads the nation in field goal percentage. And much like high school, it's not even close. Going into this weekend's matchup with Big Ten rival Wisconsin, Coleman was shooting .728 from the floor. Her nearest competitor was Vanderbilt's Chantelle Anderson and her .659 field goal percentage.

And although she's making scoring in the post look easy once again, Coleman insists she's a different player than she was in high school.

"Obviously it was a lot harder for me when I got to the college level," she said. "But the conditioning and the weightlifting helped me a lot. I still use my athleticism, but now it's a lot more strength and good shot selection."

Her improved prowess around the basket has led to increased attention on the floor by defenders and off the floor by scouts and media. Coleman says she pays no attention to how many shots she takes a game - she averages just more than nine attempts and just more than six baskets a game - and even less attention to statistics.

"I didn't even know (about leading the nation in field goal percentage) until one of my friends saw it on TV and told me; then I finally went in and looked over some stats," she said. "We're just trying to win as a team. The guards are getting me the ball in the right places and I'm just trying to help the team."

For now, helping the team means not thinking about the future, whether it's playing or coaching, at home or abroad.

"Basketball is always going to be in my future," she said. "But right now, I've got four more classes to graduate. So I'm focusing on that and getting into the (NCAA) Tournament. After that, I'll take whatever chances come to me."

Others

Several women's soccer players with local ties were named on Soccer Buzz Magazine's postseason awards lists. Oak Hills grad Danielle Dietrich, now at Ohio State, was a member of the Freshman All-America team. Three University of Cincinnati players are members of the Great Lakes all-region team: Heather Herweh (Ursuline) was a first-team selection; Tasha Wagner (Middletown) made the second team; Amy Simonson (Princeton) was on the third team. Miami's Danielle Berkemeier (Fairfield) and Ashley Swinehart were named to the all-region first team. Teammate Andrea Cunningham was a third-team selection. Miami coach Bobby Kramig was runner-up for the region's Coach of the Year.

Anderson grads Allison Nickel and Sarah Anthony split North Coast Athletic Conference runner-of-the-week honors as part of Denison indoor relays in the distance medley and sprints/hurdles respectively.

Miami guard Heather Cusick was honored last week as the Mid-American Conference East Division player of the week. Cusick recorded 26 points against Eastern Michigan and became MU's all-time leading 3-point shooter.

Last week, Mount St.Joseph's Virginia Grace, a Colerain grad, set a new Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference record for blocked shots in a game with nine en route to the conference's player-of-the-week honors. She averaged 20.5 points, 14 rebounds and 8.5 blocks in the Lions' two games.

Northern Kentucky's Quentin Smith (Mount Healthy) was named Great Lakes Valley Conference player of the week after averaging 22.5 points and 12 rebounds a game in a pair of Norse victories.

E-mail rernst@enquirer.com




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