By Mark F. Gray
Once basketball season officially became center stage for the DMV’s HBCU programs several women’s players have become box office worthy heading towards the holiday recess. Bowie State, Howard, and Morgan State had key members of their resurgent teams earn player of the week honors in the CIAA and MEAC.
Bowie State senior Kyaja Williams is making a strong early season bid for CIAA Player of the Year as she was voted as Player of the Week for the third time in a row. Morgan State’s senior Chelsea Mitchell shared MEAC Player of the Week with Howard’s Sarah Edmond.
Williams, a Baltimore native, has been a vital contributor to a team that opened the season winning it’s first 10 games, after being picked third by the conference coaches and sports information directors in the preseason polls. During the stretch she averaged 15.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 5.5 steals and 1.5 blocks defensively over two games.
The junior guard displayed her versatility on both sides of the floor in victories over Johnson C. Smith, Shaw, and Claflin. In the Lady Bulldogs 58-36 win over the Golden Bulls, Williams notched her fourth game with at least five steals. She currently ranks second nationally in Division II in steals- averaging 4.5 per game. Williams then scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Shaw before erupting for a 21-point, 17-rebound performance against Claflin, which to that point were her fourth and fifth double-doubles of the season.
Meanwhile, when the MEAC revealed its women’s basketball weekly honors, the acknowledgement was shared on both sides of the Baltimore Washington Parkway. Howard’s senior guard Sarah Edmond earned a share of the conference’s top award.
For the second time this season, Edmond earned Co-MEAC Player of the Week after leading the Bison to wins over Niagara and East Carolina. She had a tremendous road trip and averaged 21 points while shooting 58-percent from the floor. Edmond made 14 of her 24 field goal attempts , including 7-of-13 from behind the three-point arc over the two games.
In the Lady Bison’s blowout win over Niagara, Edmond went off for a season-high 25 points making 9-of-12 shots, including five of her six three-pointers. Two nights later at East Carolina, Edmond finished with a game-high 17 points with nine rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Despite a loss to an in-town rival, Mitchell, a Columbia, MD native, added to her conference lead in early season double-doubles. She scored a team-high 23 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds against UMBC. Morgan State lost 65-63 in overtime at UMBC despite an 11-for-23 shooting performance where she finished with a game-high six steals and one block.
This is the third in the young MEAC season that Mitchell earned a conference weekly honor. However, her previous two weekly MEAC honors were as the only Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 26 and Co-Defensive Player of the Week after her performances for the week of Nov. 12.