WYE MILLS — The Chesapeake College women’s basketball team wants it all.
The Skipjacks don’t just want to win 20 games or more and earn a spot in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II tournament in Port Huron, Michigan in mid-March.
They want to finish it off. Finish strong. Win it all.
If the Skipjacks win the Region XX tournament, they would advance to nationals for the fifth time in six years under head coach Gwen Barnes.
“When we went last year, the majority of the team was freshman and it was a big stage for them,” Barnes said. “When they left there, they said, ‘We could have done a lot better.’ I said, ‘Once you get to nationals, you will be so experienced that you will able to handle the big stage a lot better.”
Chesapeake was ousted last year after consecutive losses to Lake Michigan College and Kansas City Kansas Community College.
This winter, Barnes knows the Skipjacks are good. She isn’t afraid to say so.
She would be taking her most talented team, which can dominate both offensively and defensively, to nationals.
“We could be stellar,” Barnes said. “Sometimes, it’s scary how good we can be when I think about my team. I look at them and say, ‘Wow.’ Every player is so talented. It is ridiculous. They just bring so many different strengths to the team.”
Barnes also raves about the team chemistry.
“I have eight sophomores and two freshmen on the team,” she said. “But you’d think they have been playing with each other the past three or four years.”
It’s showing on the court. The Skipjacks boast a 15-4 record and are routing many of their opponents. Chesapeake is averaging 85 points a game, and opponents just can’t keep up.
Fourteen of the Skipjacks’ 15 wins have come by 19 points or more.
“We teach everybody to be an offensive threat,” Barnes said. “At any moment, any one of the players can get hot.”
Sophomore guard/forward Brooke Worrell is the team’s go-to player. She leads Chesapeake in scoring (21.9 points per game) and ranks second in rebounding (8.2) and assists (3.5). The 5-foot-11 Worrell, a graduate of Anne Arundel County’s Chesapeake High, scored a season-high 42 points in a 78-59 victory over Monroe (N.Y.) College in mid-December.
“She can hit from outside and play inside,” Barnes said. “She is very aggressive on the boards and can handle the ball. When she gets going, the rest of the team feeds off of her energy.”
Sophomore combo guard Jahnaya Peterson scores points in bunches, too. The 5-8 Peterson, a Suitland native, is averaging 17.2 points and leads the team in assists (3.8).
“This year, she has been able to do a little bit of everything,” Barnes said. “She’s able to be a point guard, a shooting guard and get inside to rebound and play good defense. There’s not as much pressure on her as last year. Last year, we looked for her to just score.”
The Skipjacks aren’t getting as much scoring from their frontcourt, but they’re dominating the boards.
Three sophomores, 6-2 forward Brittiney Seymour (averaging 10.6 rebounds), 6-3 center Janice Brown (7.2) and forward 5-11 Charm Stone (6.6) form an imposing frontline.
“They have been such a huge factor for us,” Barnes said of Seymour and Brown. “Seymour can jump out of the gym and she is a rebounding queen. She runs the floor well and finishes at the rim. Janice is that banger and just plays superb defense.”