Jump into a new season

Izzy Lamparty of Georgetown College fights for a shot as Leah Abribat, left, and Jaylah Herzog of Miami University-Hamilton challenge in Thursday’s opener for the Tigers.

Even while confronted with a small window in which to acquaint themselves, the new-look Georgetown College women's basketball team is off to a prolific start.

Having plucked head coach Jeff Nickel from a Mid-South Conference rival and overhauled the roster with eight new additions, the Tigers appear poised for a revival after routing Miami University-Hamilton, 101-52, on Thursday night and Lourdes University, 93-61, on Saturday evening to christen a retooled regime.

“It's my first year here, but Georgetown never really had a team where they scored 100 points, so that's a step up from a lot,” said Cassie Colon, a 5-foot-10 junior forward who joined the Tigers after a brief stint at NCAA Division I University of Toledo. “We have a lot of athletic girls. That explosiveness is never going to drop with this team this year.”

Colon chalked up 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in her GC debut, slashing through the paint and around Miami-Hamilton defenders for many layups. She supplied 14 points and seven boards against Lourdes.

Five of the first seven players to take the court in the opener were newcomers, including AJ Stevenson, who scored all 12 of her points on 3-pointers.

Mainstays from last season's COVID-challenged, 3-13 campaign also thrived in the fresh start. Grace White added 14 points and five rebounds, while Callie Jackson brought 10 points off the bench on 4-for-5 shooting.

“It's really exciting. We have a lot of athleticism that we brought in, and then the people that are here from last year are the really good pieces that our team needed to keep around,” said White, who also played D1 ball at Northern Kentucky University. “It's exciting to see people come from all these places and mix together.”

After an uneven start, GC went on a 23-5 run in the second quarter to build a 41-21 halftime lead. The Tigers finished the third period with another surge of 21-5.

Thirteen different players scored as the Tigers topped the century mark for the first time since Thanksgiving weekend of 2019, also against Miami-Hamilton.

“A lot to get in, and a short amount of time,” said Nickel, who guided Shawnee State University to eight consecutive NAIA tournament appearances before accepting the challenge at Georgetown, which has made it to nationals only once in the past seven seasons. “We've been practicing for three or four weeks. I'd say we've got about 60 percent of it in, but we're going to try to grow game by game and day by day, I think the kids have done a good job of embracing what we've brought in.”

GC never trailed against Lourdes, holding the Gray Wolves to nine points in the first quarter. The Tigers took full advantage of 29 turnovers, highlighted by White and Jazzmyn Elston's three steals apiece.

“I'm really proud. There's obviously some jitters in there, but I'm proud of how everyone top to bottom came in there and did some really good things,” White said. “Our defense looked really good at times, and our offense transition and in the half court was really impressive too.”

Madison Darnell, a link to GC's last tournament team in 2018-19, led the charge with 19 points and eight rebounds. Colon, White (13 points, five assists), Stevenson (12) and Lexi Stapleton (10) joined her in double digits.

Kal Oakes can be reached via email at sports@news-graphic.com.

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