February 25, 2009
East Mississippi Community College women''s basketball coach Sharon Thompson is particular about starting players who do what''s expected of them.
That''s why sophomore power forward Miari Franklin, of Starkville, has been inserted into EMCC''s startng lineup.
The 5-foot-9 Franklin was inserted into the starting lineup against Holmes Community College on Jan 22 after starting only two games previously this season.
"She''s just a good kid on and off the court," Thompson said of Franklin. "That''s what we try to look at. It''s not so much the quality of player that we bring in as it is being a good student athlete. She''s one of those. She gets out there and does what she''s supposed to do. She''s not really putting up big numbers for us, but she''s a good kid and does what she''s supposed to do on the court and off of it."
Franklin only averages 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, but does other things on the floor that earned her a spot in the starting lineup.
She has had season highs of eight points against Pearl River Community College on Nov. 13 and six rebounds against Pearl River on Feb. 9.
"I try to contribute on defense because I''m a defensive player and not an offensive player," Franklin said.
Franklin has started during a successful stretch for EMCC, which has won 11 games in a row. The game against Holmes was the second game of the winning streak.
The Lady Lions are 21-4 after beating Southwest Mississippi Community College 67-58 in the MAJCC State Tournament on Monday. They play Jones Community College in the second round at 5 p.m. today.
"I''m so happy we''re 21-4," Franklin said. "It''s better than what we were last season (when the Lady Lions were 9-13). We''re playing together and communicating. We''ve just got a feel for each other. We just know what each can do and can''t do."
Franklin was inserted into to the starting lineup when other players didn''t meet Thompson''s criteria on and off the court.
"Some of our other kids weren''t doing what they were supposed to be doing," Thompson said. "I had Jasmine Abrams, who is one of our better players, I had to suspend for three games. That''s when Miari actually moved into the starting lineup."
Franklin has returned to the starting lineup after starting as a freshman for the Lady Lions last season.
"It''s a big responsibility (starting) because if you''re starting the game you have to start out right," Franklin said.
Franklin said it didn''t upset her that she lost a starting position before regaining it against Holmes.
"I handled it OK because I knew there was somebody better than me," Franklin said. "I just had to go with the coach''s decision."
Even though Franklin started only two of the first 14 games, Thompson considered Franklin a valuable member of the team.
"Even when she wasn''t starting, she came in and gave our other players much needed rest," Thompson said. "She was one of the kids that would come in and give Martika Hull, our outstanding freshman post player, a couple minutes of rest."
Franklin is one of three former Starkville High School players who play for the Lady Lions, joining Sanitra Bush and Reva Brown.
Bush has started 17 of 24 games and averages 6.9 points and 3.8 rebounds, and Brown has played in 20 games and averages 2.3 points and 2.1 rebounds.