Three new assistants help Oakland Mills turn it around


January 07, 1993|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Oakland Mills girls basketball coach Teresa Waters had an outstanding recruiting year.

Waters lured three top-notch former college players to help coach the Scorpions, who are trying to rebound from a 1-21 season.

So far their help is paying off. Oakland Mills' young team is playing much better than anticipated, winning three of its seven non-league games. The league season begins tomorrow against Wilde Lake.

Julie Lappert, Oakland Mills' only senior, is enthusiastic about the new coaches.

"They've helped a lot," Lappert said. "We've improved tremendously from last season when it was really Miss Waters coaching by herself. The new coaches give you an honest opinion."

Each of the three coaches -- Audrey Smith, Laurie Governor and Myra Sturgis -- has an impressive playing resume.

Smith was a defensive specialist for the University of Texas team that went 34-0 and won the national championship in 1986. The 5-foot-7 guard averaged 5.2 points for her career, while shooting 52 percent from the floor and 73 percent at the foul line.

She is the sister of Washington Bullets guard LaBradford Smith.

Governor, a former Howard High star, averaged 14.6 points and 9.6 rebounds at the University of Richmond from 1984 to 1988.

Her 1,655 career points rank third and her 1,086 rebounds rank second on Richmond's all-time list.

The 6-foot-2 forward led her team in scoring three straight seasons and was all-conference two years.

Governor helped turn around Richmond's program. The team went 21-8 her senior year, and since then has won two Colonial Athletic Association championships.

Sturgis is Salisbury State's third all-time leading scorer with 1,394 points for a 13.4 average. The 5-9 forward is third all-time in rebounding with 839 and seventh all-time in assists with 121.

Sturgis also played for the same powerhouse high school as Waters -- Snow Hill, which made the state finals six times and was in the final four eight times from 1973 through 1985.

All of the coaches met Waters through playing in summer leagues or pick-up games. Sturgis had met Waters previously at Snow Hill, where Waters runs a five-week summer basketball rec center.

Sturgis is the junior varsity coach and also is helping Governor coach the varsity's front-court players.

Smith has put in a full-court man-to-man press and is coaching the defense.

Waters, one of Snow Hill's all-time top scorers, concentrates on the offense.

Waters, coaching her 14th season at Oakland Mills, almost didn't return this year. She lost her full-time business teaching position due to budget cuts. She's now a half-time elementary school math teacher.

She is taking courses to become certified to teach special education, and is midway through a master's program in school administration.

The new assistants offer a good blend of coaching styles.

Waters said: "I'm impatient and my favorite coaching phrase is suck it up."

She thinks the new coaches project more patient, relaxed and positive attitudes.

In a county where five of the eight girls teams are coached by men, they also offer a female role model.

"They were all good students and will build character and determination," Waters said.

Waters knows what it is to coach winning teams. Two years ago, the Scorpions were 23-3, and three years ago, they were 19-4.

She thinks this team has the potential to be a big winner next season.

It has scrimmaged a lot against boys to combat a lack of toughness.

"We always scrimmaged against guys at my high school," Smith said.

The girls against guys set-up is fine with the girls.

"I've gotten much more aggressive because of that," forward Alicia Brown said. "We've also worked a lot at fundamentals this season."

Although the team is progressing, it is not ready to beat the top teams like Hammond and Mount Hebron.

"We still have a long way to go," Waters said. "But everyone except the three freshmen went to summer camps, and we've bonded as a team."

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