first_img BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer What a difference a healthy Amy Gaudious means to the Brookdale Community College women’s basketball team. For most of the season, the Jersey Blues were getting by with their 6-foot-0 forward hampered by hip and leg injuries that limited her mobility and overall effectiveness. Gaudious, a sophomore out of Long Branch High School, played through the pain and limitations without a complaint. “She was upset that she couldn’t play like she’s capable,” BCC co-head coach Joanne Cobb noted. “She never asked out of practice. We had to keep her away. She’s a workhorse and never complains. “She just wants to go and play ball,” she added. “She’s always double-teamed, but never grouches about it. She makes no excuses. Amy has a great attitude.” Since mid-January, Gaudious has been a new player. She was finally able to put her injuries behind her and play pain-free again. “Her lateral movement just keeps getting better,” said Cobb. “She’s moving around quicker and handling the ball in transition. How many 6-footers can bring the ball up the floor?” Just how good Gaudious is when she is healthy was clearly demonstrated last month when she became the first Brookdale women to be named the Division III College Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 16-22. All she did was lead BCC to a 3-0 record that included two wins over tough Division II teams. Gaudious had a triple-double — 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in Brookdale’s 72-61 win over nationally-ranked Lackawanna (Pa.). She followed that up with eight points, 14 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks in a 69-58 win over Burlington. She capped her week with 11 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in a the 78-41 win over Burlington. The new, old Gaudious has Brookdale running on all cylinders for the first time this winter. Although the Blues are only 12-8 overall, they are still ranked No. 10 in the country in the national polls. Voters obviously took BCC’s rugged schedule into account. The Blues have played a number of games against Division I and II teams (six of their eight losses have been to the higher-up divisions) and that was enough to convince voters that they are among the nation’s best Division III teams. “It’s where we are at the end that counts,” Cobb said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us.” To coaches Cobb and Marianne Campacci, the only record that counts is Brookdale’s 7-1 Garden State Athletic Conference mark. It’s good enough to have the defending champions in first place and headed toward a top seed for the Region XIX tournament that gets under way on March 1. Brookdale improved to 12-8 overall with its 69-39 win in Lincroft over Ocean on Feb. 1. Gaudious had 13 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, while Danielle Vitalone, from Middletown South, had a team-high 17, including three treys. South River’s Tammy Wood added a double-double, 11 points and 10 rebounds. For Gaudious, the double-double was her 11th of the season. She also has two triple-doubles. Brookdale, though, as Cobb pointed out, is much more than Gaudious. “Our stats across the board for the other players are just under hers,” she explained. “This team is a real family and has the team concept.” Gaudious is ranked 10th in the county in rebounding at 10.45 per game. But Wood is 25th, pulling down 8.35 caroms a game. Perhaps more impressive, Gaudious ranks 15th in assists (4.05). That’s a high number for a frontcourt player. Teammate Becky Piper is 25th (3.4). Piper, a Colts Neck grad, leads the team in scoring (14.25) and ranks 24th in the country. She is one of four Jersey Blues averaging in double figures. Wood is averaging 11.4, Gaudious, 10.65, and Vitalone, 10.3. A coach can’t ask for better balance. Piper is also 17th in steals (3.05). Vitalone ranks sixth in the country in three-point field goal percentage (41.05), with Piper 15th (33.85). Wood is fourth in field goal percentage (54.86) and Ashley Healy (Howell) is 17th (48.12). The Jersey Blues have team national rankings as well. Their 68 points a game is 12th best in the nation, and on defense they are allowing just 58.947 per game — 10th in the country. Brookdale is home for two big GSAC games this week, Saturday against Passaic (1 p.m.) and Tuesday, Gloucester (5 p.m.) Their final home game is a GSAC game on Feb. 24 against Bergen. The Region XIX Tournament, whose winner advances to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Championships in Delhi, N.Y., starts on March 1 with games at the home of the highest seed. The tournament moved to Salem Community College in Carney’s Point for the semifinals and final, March 3 and 5. The national tournament is March 17-19. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer last_img

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