Villa Julie women an inaugural surprise

ON COLLEGES

January 14, 1996|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

"When we started out on October 16," Chris Ramer recalls, "we had nine girls, and eight didn't know a thing about basketball."

Ramer, the women's basketball coach at Villa Julie, laughs at the recollection. He was beginning the program from scratch, as Brett Adams had done with the men's team the previous season. Whatever expectations he had before that afternoon were scaled down immediately.

No wonder Ramer is beaming over the Mustangs' respectable start. They are 2-5 and eager to play again, having been off since Dec. 9 because of exams, holidays and the blizzard.

"From where we were October 16 to now, I'm as happy as can be," Ramer said. "They've shown they can handle the ball, work hard and play as a team."

The first victory came Nov. 29 at Wilson (Pa.) College, 45-41. Freshman guard Nicki Tyson scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and made four steals. She leads the team in scoring with 17 points a game.

The Mustangs had lost their first three by an average margin of almost 80 points, and Ramer said "that first win was like we died and went to heaven. We went to dinner and celebrated. You could just see the enthusiasm after that. You could sense the girls wanted to work even harder. There was even talk about having more practices."

Then came the long layoff, and worries from Ramer that his players would end up "back at square one."

Villa Julie's first "home" game is set for tomorrow. The Mustangs don't have a gymnasium, so they will play at Maryvale Prep, which hasn't been open for practices much because of the snow.

That's just one of the oddities attached to the coaching job at Villa Julie. "I never dreamed I'd be doing all of this. Washing uniforms? I never imagined," Ramer said.

"But I love it."

And he still can laugh when reminded of just how far this team still has to go.

"I gave a pep talk this week about us finishing .500 the rest of the year," he said, "and one girl goes, 'But coach, we can't score 500 points.' "

Villa Julie men improve

Brett Adams said before the season that his men's basketball team at Villa Julie might be playing very well during the first semester "and still be 1-9." He was right.

The Mustangs dropped nine of their first 10 games before the break, but the record is deceiving. They lost to York (Pa.) by one point at the buzzer, and to York (N.Y.) by two. They also led Bridgewater by five in the second half before losing by nine.

"We're doing better than last year," Adams said, looking back to his team's 2-21 record in its inaugural season. "We have 15 players this year; we had eight by the end of last season. We

have 10 new players, so I knew it would take a while for us to start playing well."

The Mustangs probably would have enjoyed more success if last season's leading scorer, guard Donte Dudley (19 ppg), had been available. He didn't play the first semester for financial reasons, choosing to work, and is 90 percent sure he will redshirt. Adams, who also serves as athletic director, supports that decision.

There will be an addition to his roster, though. Freshman point guard Kiam Preston (Forest Park) is eligible this semester, which will enable sophomore Kelly Matthews (Lansdowne) to move to shooting guard. Matthews has been playing more than 30 minutes a game and averaging 18.3 points -- second to junior guard Shuron Woodyard (19.1 ppg) -- and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

Miscellaneous

Junior forward Predrag Durkovic has become the second Goucher player to reach 1,000 career points, and the third to grab 500 rebounds. . . . Bowie State guard Tony Morton was named the CIAA's Rookie of the Week after scoring 47 points and handing out 13 assists in three games. . . . Salisbury State freshman Eric Prendeville moved into the starting lineup after just three games and is second in the CAC with 4.8 assists per game. Junior Randy Clark is averaging 11.5 points and is second in the conference with 9.5 rebounds. And junior John DeRichie leads the CAC in steals, and his 122 career three-pointers rank third all-time at Salisbury. . . . UMBC will induct four members into its athletic Hall of Fame on Feb. 17: Bob Jacobsen (baseball, 1978), Felice Pinkney (basketball, 1991), Larry Simmons (basketball/soccer, 1990) and Steve Zerhusen (soccer, 1979).

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