Carrie Washington doesn’t get the glamorous job for the Columbus State women’s basketball team. That works out well, though, because she doesn’t need it.
She doesn’t need to score double-digit points every game. She’ll take her 7.6 and leave the shooting to teammates like Chatil Bradford, Asha Alexander or Tae Smith.
Like offensive linemen in football, who don’t hear their names called, Washington does the dirty work, performing the crucial, often thankless task of picking up the garbage.
“She relishes that job,” coach Jonathan Norton said. “We don’t run many plays to get her the ball. We tell her that for her to score, she has to get rebounds.”
And she does. On both sides of the court.
Ten times per game, she hauls in missed field goal attempts, a number that almost seems low after her career-high 27-rebound effort in a 75-62 win over Georgia Southwestern last week.
Yes, that number is 27 — 14 offensive and 13 defensive. That performance on the glass did lead to points for Washington as well. She added 23 points to her effort in that game, totals that earned her a nod as the Peach Belt Conference player of the week last week.
“I didn’t know it was that many until Coach told me,” Washington said on Thursday. “I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ When we need those points or offensive rebounds, I’m just determined to get to the ball so we can get another opportunity. That’s the main thing I focus on.”
It’s paid off. The Lady Cougars are first in the conference in rebounding, a big factor in their 12-4 record (7-3 in PBC play).
The 23 points she scored against Georgia Southwestern are a credit to Washington’s improvement, Norton said. Early on, she wasn’t finishing after getting offensive rebounds. Norton said she’s spent hours in the gym to perfect the task, and the results are showing.
“We talked to her about being in balance and slowing down and finishing,” he said. “She’s worked on that, and now she’s shooting at a high percentage.”
She only takes about six shots per game, but connects at a 53.3-percent clip, the highest on the team for a regular.
All this has been done with a handful of aches and pains throughout the season. She got a late start due to an ankle injury that took her out of practice for four weeks leading to the start of the season. Now, she has an ailing back, which was at its worst during her 20-20 game last week.
“That was the worst pain I’ve been in,” she said of the Georgia Southwestern game. “I just wanted the game to end. I just told myself to keep going over and over again.”
Norton said he’s never heard her complain about her back.
“The only reason I know is because our trainer gives me updates on the team,” he said. “It’s an injury she’ll fight through, but never use as an excuse.”
If she continues her impressive output on the boards, Columbus State will likely be in good position in the conference tournament and beyond. That’s her goal.
Watching film, she is focused completely on what she’s doing wrong.
“It’s easy to see if you’re doing something right,” she said. “You have to watch what’s wrong and figure out how to perfect it.”