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New-Look ODU Women's Basketball Team Rolls past Lincoln, 72-50, in Season Opener


By Harry Minium

 Old Dominion women's basketball coach DeLisha Milton-Jones has embraced the challenges in college athletics caused by the transfer portal.
She and her staff hit the road during the offseason and signed 10 transfers to go along with five returnees. And the combination of new and old was impressive in ODU's season opener as the Monarchs ran past Lincoln(Pa.) University 72-50 Monday night at Chartway Arena.
The most impressive of the newcomers on Monday was En'Dya Buford, a Memphis native who transferred to ODU from Jones Junior College. The 5-foot-7 senior impressed with her athleticism and led all scorers with 14 points and added six assists and two steals.
On a night when Milton-Jones used 13 players and substituted liberally, Buford led ODU in playing time with 21:24.
"She is a high-powered offensive player that we'll always want to find a way to have her on the court," Milton-Jones said. "And she does some great things defensively.
"She's a pretty special player. She was a huge pickup for us because she's what we consider a walking bucket. She's instant offense."
Returning starter Kaye Clarke had 13 points and six steals and Mikayla Brown, also a returnee, added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Milton-Jones said she experimented with different lineups and that the she has yet to decide on the rotation of players.
Lincoln is a Division II school with a good basketball resume. The Lions were 19-9 last season and captured the CIAA North Division title. Lincoln was picked to finish second in the CIAA this season.
Lincoln kept it close only until early in the second quarter when the Monarchs cranked up their fast break and built what had been a three-point lead to 17.

ODU led, 25-22, when Lanetta Williams, a 6-foot-3 graduate transfer from Memphis, began the run with a second-chance layup and then a hook shot.
Jordan McLaughlin, a returning senior from Charlotte, made a pair of shots sandwiched around a layup from Brown that expanded the lead to 35-22.
Lincoln's Riley Holliday briefly broke the run with a rebound and layup with 48 seconds left, but Halima Salat, a junior college transfer from Texas, and Mimi McCollister, another Juco transfer from Texas, made back-to-back three-pointers to give the Monarchs a 41-24 halftime lead.
Lincoln got no closer than 12 the rest of the way. The Monarchs had a 12-point run in the fourth quarter that made the final outcome lopsided.
ODU outrebounded Lincoln, 46-30, and outscored the smaller Lions, 42-16, in the paint. 
Milton-Jones has chosen to go with age and experience rather than youth: she has only one sophomore and no freshmen. She said that is by design. In an era where players transfer if they don't play right away, she said she prefers to find talented upper classmen
She said the newcomers and returnees have bonded well.
"It's going well," she said. "There's a lot that has to go into a team becoming a winner. You can't just throw the players together. It takes intentionality from the coaching staff, the support staff and more than anything, the players.
"They spend a lot of time together off the court. They cook together, they go shopping together, they go to church together. They're a good group and fun to be around."
"It started over the summer," Clark said of summer practice. "It was down and dirty in practice. We started with the basics, learning about the coaches. 
"We went out to eat together to get a feel for each other and start to build that chemistry.
"Everyone was comfortable with each other, comfortable with the coaches. Everyone has bought into what the coaches have planned for us to win a championship."
The Monarchs next play Saturday when they host Buffalo at 4 p.m. at Chartway Arena. The game is part of the inaugural MAC-Sun Belt challenge, featuring Mid-American and Sun Belt conference teams.