| Seniors Combine Skill, Friendship on the Court |
Senior point guard Her’shiira “Shorty” Boone-Rodgers and senior forward Amber Arceneaux-Francis are filling up the stat sheets for the University of St. Thomas women’s basketball team. The Celts Head Coach Mike Ricks attributes their long friendship as a key component to their individual and team success.
In only the program’s second season, Ricks said he can see his team moving forward, and the senior leaders are a large part of those positive strides.
“Seniors Boone-Rodgers and Arceneaux-Francis have been instrumental in leading our program on the court these first two seasons,” Ricks said. “It’s obvious to see when players have a unique chemistry together, and these two definitely have it.”
Playing together for a successful Dulles High School program in Sugar Land, Texas, Boone-Rodgers and Arceneaux-Francis were awarded scholarships to Cisco College is Cisco, Texas. After a successful freshman season, the two friends still wanted more from school and heard about a startup women’s basketball program last year at UST, which is much closer to their homes.
“We both wanted to move closer to home so our friends and family could see us play, but we mostly transferred because St. Thomas offers a great education,” Arceneaux-Francis said.
The decision turned out to be a great one as they are both on schedule to graduate this May.
As far as the twosome’s performance on the court, the statistics speak for themselves. Boone-Rodgers is third in the Red River Athletic Conference in assists and is eighth overall in the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics at 6.08 per game. Arceneaux-Francis is leading the conference in rebounds at 11.31 per game, good for sixth overall in the NAIA Division I. She is also listed in the RRAC top five for scoring, field goals and steals per game.
Boone-Rodgers credits 10 years of friendship as the reason the two have been successful this season, but said being teammates the entire time doesn’t hurt either.
“Not only have we been close friends, but we have been playing together since the summer after fifth grade, all through junior high and high school, and now into college,” Boone-Rodgers said. “There is no doubt our friendship helps us out on the floor.”
Assistant Coach Sean Hill believes these two are only going to get better as the season progresses, and sees their chemistry continue to translate on the court.
“Just as they have been for a large part of each other’s lives, I hope they continue to grow on and off the basketball court,” Hill said. “I’m excited to see what each of their futures hold.”
The Celts are currently 6-7 overall and 3-3 in RRAC play. The team demolished Northwood University, 93-54, in their latest win at home on Jan. 3. The Celts return to action with three conference games coming up. The Celts hit the road for a 2 p.m. game on Jan. 5 against Southwestern Assemblies of God in Waxahachie, Texas. Next up is a home game against Huston-Tillotson University at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 8 in Jerabeck Gym. Then, catch the road game against
Langston University at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 10 on Premier Sports Network.
Story by Sterling Blodgett, communication student