Lady Avengers Trio Headed To Division I Florida A&M
BROOKLYN, NY --- Sophomores Ariel Thomas (New York, NY), Tanikqua McFarlane (Queens, NY), and Ashley Watson (Detroit, MI) have turned their stellar careers at ASA into full scholarships to attend Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL next season.
The trio, talented but nationally unheralded out of high school, have left as indelible a mark as anyone to wear a Lady Avengers uniform in its young history.
In their two years at ASA, Thomas, a 6-2 forward, McFarlane, a 6-3 forward/center, and Watson, a 5-5 point guard, helped lead the Lady Avengers to a 39-18 (.684) record, including two trips to the District C Division I tournament as winners of Region XV.
They were also the anchors of the Lady Avengers defense. With the pair roaming the paint and pressuring the perimeter, ASA recorded consecutive Top-15 defenses, finishing with the #7 ranked unit in the country in 2011-12. The marked improvement helped lead ASA to a 22-5 record, the program's first 20-win campaign in three NJCAA seasons.
Thomas played in 46 games for the Lady Avengers, averaging 4.4 PPG and 5.6 RPG. While she is a more capable offensive threat than her stats suggest, Thomas made her biggest impact on the defensive end. In 2010-11, she finished 28th nationally in blocks per game (1.7 BPG). Last season, she increased that number to 2.9 BPG, which would have qualified for 5th in the nation if she played the minimum of 20 games. She also recorded eight or more rebounds in 11 career games.
McFarlane played in 55 of 57 games and posted averages of 2.9 PPG and 6.9 RPG. McFarlane made a name for herself with her uncanny rebounding ability. She finished in the top two in team rebounds in both her seasons, grabbing 186 boards in 2010-11 (1st) and 194 in 2011-12 (2nd). She had 13 double-digit rebound games, including an 18-rebound outing against CCRI in 2011 and an 19-rebound game against Monroe College in 2012.
Watson, from day one, was the heart & soul of the Lady Avengers. The diminutive lead guard averaged 5.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.6 APG and 2.3 SPG for the Lady Avengers in 38 career games. After missing the latter portion of 2010-11 due to injury, she returned to play all but two games this season and adjusted her game to the team's needs. With more weapons and less pressure to score in 2011-12, her points average dropped (6.8 to 4.3) but her rebounding (4.3 to 5.3) and team-leading assist (2.9 to 4.0) numbers increased, giving the team extra possessions and quality looks.
With Thomas, McFarlane and Watson headed to FAMU, ASA has now signed five players to Division I schools in two seasons. The group will join Christina Delille (ASA '11 / Hampton University) in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and Brittany Webb (ASA '12 / Seton Hall University) on the NCAA's highest level.
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