FORT MYERS, FL – ASA College-Miami’s women’s basketball team won a game.
A sentiment as powerful as it is simple – given that it had never been uttered before Friday.
The Lady Silver Storm smashed multiple program records, including most points scored in a game – thanks to Amiyah Harley’s 32 points – as they defeated IMG Academy 100-81 Friday afternoon at Florida Southwestern State College to capture the program’s first-ever regular season victory.
ASA Miami (1-0), which traveled to Fort Myers, Florida to play in the four-team, two-day FSWC Classic, had lost its previous 49 games spanning over two seasons and, prior to Friday, could only hang its hat on a handful close losses – or “moral victories”.
But since he was hired back in June, Silver Storm head coach Kevin Johnson committed himself to change the culture of ASA’s women’s basketball program. And it showed Friday; as five ASA players scored in double figures and the Silver Storm, who trailed by two points at halftime, used a 41-point fourth quarter to pull away from the Lady Avengers.
“Today the odds were against us with only seven eligible players,” Johnson said after the game. “Our team fought very hard each possession and they never gave up. I’m so proud of them. This is the beginning of changing the culture of the program.”
A part of changing the culture of the program meant infusing the roster with new talent.
Harley, a Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson product, was one of the new players that Johnson brought in and she paid quick dividends by knocking 9-of-12 three-pointers and grabbing seven rebounds Friday.
Sophomore transfer Mackenzie Sadaka was the team’s second-leading scorer with 17 and was one rebound short of a double-double. Desnee Johnson, another ASA Miami newbie, added 13 points (3-for-3 from three-point range) off the bench while sophomore returner Mariia Semenichenko totaled 12 points and grabbed 10 boards. Also, guards Ta’Kyla Austin and Lashayla Johnson combined to contribute 20 points and 18 assists while helping to hold IMG Academy to 33 percent shooting from the field Friday.
The Lady Avengers did have three players all finish with 20 or more points – led by Elizabeth Smith’s 28 – but after leading the Silver Storm by four at the end of the first quarter (23-19), IMG was outscored by ASA in every quarter.
With the weight of the program’s distressing streak off their collective shoulders, the Lady Silver Storm will look to double their win total Saturday afternoon when they take on host Florida Southwestern at 3 p.m.