Women’s Basketball players Quimari Shelton and Tori Smith selected to all-OCCAC teams 

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By Christina Easter

Triceratop players Quimari Shelton was selected to the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) first team and Victoria “Tori” Smith was selected to the second team All-OCCAC. Shelton’s selection was unanimous after playing in only ten games during the season and Smith’s selection was a follow-up to last season in which Smith played every game on a five-player roster. After an outstanding career at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), Shelton and Smith will continue playing basketball at four year colleges. 

Last season was rough for the team, coaches, and players. But this season, Shelton and Smith took a different approach which led to the Women Triceratops finishing first in the OCCAC with a 9-3 record and 18-10 overall.  

“It started in the summer when I got in the weight room and began lifting weights to work on my physical game,” Shelton said. “I was in the gym before and after practice and during games I focused more. I also got more comfortable with the staff at Eastern Campus and reached out for help that I needed.” 

“It was awesome to be selected to the second all conference team this year because of how long last season was and how we didn’t have a full team,” Smith said. “This year, getting to work with my teammates and working as a team was the reason I can say that I got the award. And, it’s awesome because without my team pushing me to be the greatest player I could be, I wouldn’t have gotten the award.” 

Shelton led the Women Triceratops in scoring with 18.8 points per game making 50.2-percent of her field goal and 50-percent of her three point attempts. Shelton also grabbed 10.5 rebounds and averaged 1.3 assists per game. 

Smith started in 24 of 27 games, played 897 minutes during the season, grabbed 212 total rebounds (93 offensive and 119 defensive), had 47 steals, 19 blocks, and made 70.2-percent of her free throws.  

“I was trying to push myself to become a better player for my team,” Smith said. “I was in the gym before practice putting up shots and working on myself and form. Before games, I would get there super early to get some shots up and then take a little break before warm up began.”  

Shelton acknowledged that the transition from high school to college was hard for her, having to commute from Akron to Cleveland. After a rough first season, Smith wasn’t sure she wanted to continue playing basketball. Both players say they are grateful to their coaches for helping them earn selection to the all conference team. 

“I finally got the hang of college with help from my coaches and teammates who were always there for me,” Shelton said. “Nobody gave up on me and this made it easier for me to come back and not give up on myself as well.” 

Shelton and Smith’s performance on the court did not surprise either of the new co-head coaches of the Women’s Basketball team, Jasmine Frierson and Dion Griffin. As assistant coaches last season, both were very involved and had input in recruiting, workouts, and practices. It was during these times that Griffin noticed the work ethic of both players day-in and day-out. 

“Quimari was our most valuable player but she is also a special individual,” Griffin said. “She brings it on the offensive end and does things she’s not asked to do which transitions into awards like the all conference first team. And as for Tori, her performance was no surprise because she came out of high school scoring over 1,000 points, so she really brought a lot to us.” 

Frierson said she is very proud of Quimari, who has an interesting story. “To go through the struggle she went through the last two seasons, she still sat on the bench and was there for her teammates,” Frierson said. Then to return for half the season, have the numbers she did, and still win an all conference award is a tremendous accomplishment.” 

After giving their all to the Triceratops, Shelton and Smith both plan to continue playing basketball at a four year college.

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