No. 3 Spalding rolls into exam break with a 16-0 record, one that the Cavaliers acknowledge has taken them aback. Fifteen of the wins have been by double figures, a marked contrast for a team that lost seven games last year by five points or fewer.
“We’ve definitely surprised ourselves,” said senior forward Camille Calhoun, who is aiming to play in her fourth consecutive IAAM-A final. “We didn’t seen 16-0. We thought there would be a few games lost here and there.”
Fifth-year Spalding Coach Bookie Rosemond figured before the season that if the Cavaliers returned to Severn from the Diamond State Classic holiday tournament in Delaware with an 8-4 or 9-3 record they would be in good shape. They came back 12-0.
“I thought we had a lot of senior leadership and it was just a matter of could we grow up from last year,” Rosemond said. “[With all the close losses], it was one of those deals where if we can learn from that and learn how to play with some patience at the end of ball games we’re going to have a good run. We know we’ve got that target on our back again, and we’re happy to have it.”
Spalding, which scrimmaged No. 1 St. John’s, No. 5 Good Counsel and No. 12 H.D. Woodson, already has beaten defending IAAM-A champ McDonogh, a team it lost to four times last year, and will play the Eagles again Friday, the first game after the exam break.
The Cavaliers have only one double figure scorer, senior forward Jade Scaife, a North Carolina-Greensboro recruit, who averages 11.9 points. Calhoun is bound for Virginia Commonwealth.
Spalding is so balanced that the team has posted only one individual 20-point scoring effort this season and 46 individual scoring totals of eight to 10 points. The Cavaliers bring a Division I player, senior forward Sierra Clark, a St. Francis (Pa.) recruit, off the bench. She was getting into foul trouble as a starter.
Senior guard Torri Chestnut, who is receiving strong interest from the College of Charleston, generally draws the toughest defensive assignment. Central Connecticut State is pursuing senior point guard Aleah Epps, who has scored in double figures in four of her past five games, her only such outings of the season.
Most of Spalding’s opponents are in the Baltimore area. Their most anticipated Washington area game is their Feb. 8 regular season finale against No. 4 Riverdale Baptist. Spalding is the last Washington area team to beat Riverdale, 69-58, on Dec. 10, 2010.