Hook shot helps Frostburg's Little keep her average elevated to 19.5

Junior has also put up strong rebound numbers

Colleges

State notebook

February 14, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Basketball's forgotten shot, the hook shot, has resurfaced in the hills of Western Maryland at Frostburg State University - thanks to high-scoring junior forward Tracey Little.

Little, a 6-foot right-hander, unleashes two left-handed hooks every game and has a 19.5 scoring average.

"Tracey has an awesome hook," said her coach, Jody Pepple, "and a big heart. She leads by example and loves to post up inside or create mismatches by stepping out to shoot threes."

Pepple said Little is so versatile she could even play point guard.

However, Pepple doesn't want to cramp the style of the most dominant player in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference.

Little leads the league in scoring, rebounding (11.3 per game), and blocked shots (46), and is fourth on the Bobcats in steals (26). She has 11 double doubles this season and 28 in 54 games.

And the former standout from Allegany High is headed for a second straight AMCC Player of the Year award and is closing in on 1,000 points in her career.

Just think where Little might be on the school's all-time charts if she hadn't first attended West Virginia University as a regular student, before transferring to Frostburg and beginning her collegiate basketball career at the end of January in her freshman year.

"Consistency is what separates Tracey from other players," said Pepple. "She makes the rest of the team better."

Pepple knows her team (13-9, 4-5) is a long shot for an NCAA Division III tournament berth since the Bobcats need to receive an at-large bid. The AMCC champion does not receive an automatic bid.

"Our league has an automatic bid next year," said Pepple. "We should have a great shot because we have everybody back."

Fear the Retrievers

UMBC men's and women's swimming coach Chad Cradock likes the idea of having both his 12-1 teams being the hunted in next weekend's America East Conference championships.

"When we come into meets, other teams look at us as the team to beat," Cradock said. "It shows that we have gained the respect of the swimming world."

The Retrievers men and women established school records for single-season wins this season, heading into their first America East championships Feb. 20-22 at the University of Maine.

The UMBC men are looking for a seventh straight conference title after winning six consecutive Eastern College Athletic Conference championships, and the women, who were Northeast Conference champs in 1999-2000 and 2002-03, are going after a third straight crown and the fifth first-place finish in the past six years.

A first for Salisbury

For the first time in Salisbury softball team history, the Sea Gulls are the preseason No. 1 in Division III.

Salisbury edged defending champion Central College of Iowa by two points for the top spot in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 preseason poll.

The Sea Gulls were runners-up last year to Central College in the Division III World Series, losing the championship game, 5-3. Salisbury returns seven starters, including sophomore All-America pitcher Lacey Lister, from that 45-6-1 team.

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