By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
An experienced and healthy Blue Mountain College women’s basketball team is off to its best start in three years.
The Lady Toppers are 3-2 and just a victory away from matching their win total from an injury plagued 2011-12 season.
“The big thing is so far, even all the way through preseason, we’ve managed to stay injury free,” said BMC coach Lavon Driskell. “Our team that was here and came back worked really hard in the offseason. Then, I felt like we had a good signing year.”
That signing class included Northeast transfer Anna Brooke Page, who has already made an impact.
She earned the first TransSouth Conference Player of the Week award of the season by scoring 51 points in her first two games.
“It’s all about the team and without them I wouldn’t be where I am,” said Page, a former Daily Journal Player of the Year at Belmont.
“We’ve got a lot of excitement surrounding our team right now, but we just want to keep it up.”
The majority of the Lady Toppers roster is from Northeast Mississippi, including starters Shaquinta Robinson of Starkville, Jessi Hayles of South Pontotoc and Page.
Hayles was selected to the Preseason All-Tran-South team after averaging 25 points a game as a junior.
Blue Mountain hosts Philander Smith tonight and Huntingdon College Dec. 1 to close its pre-Christmas home slate. The Lady Toppers host Mid-Continent to open conference action Jan. 19.
The Blue Mountain men (2-3) have an overseas flavor on their roster with three big men over 6-foot-5 hailing from other countries. Velibor Njegovanovic andVladimir Filipovic from Serbia as well as Brazil native Bruno Santana all came to the United States through Christian academies and found their way to Blue Mountain.
“All of them are pretty skilled,” third-year Toppers coach J.D. Parker said. “They’re all easy to deal
with and very grateful. I wouldn’t doubt if we end up having a couple more.” Parker expects returning
area players Devante Pulliam of Houston and Tupelo High graduate Shane Butler, who was named to the TransSouth All-Freshman team last year, to each play key rolls.
BMC also hosts Philander Smith tonight. The Toppers begin conference play Nov. 29 against Life University.