ROCKVILLE – Jordan Odom controlled the game tempo for much of the second half, leading Montgomery College to an 85-64 home victory on Feb. 2 over Cecil College.
The result put the Lady Raptors back in the win column after losing back-to-back games heading into the contest. Odom, who played with Gaithersburg High School last season, and former Richard Montgomery High School player Nusaibah Rashad each finished with 24 points for the Raptors.
Rashad has not missed a beat since high school and has been a dominant force inside the paint since joining Montgomery this season.
“She’s strong in there,” said Montgomery College head coach Tarlouh Gasque. “She’s a force to be reckoned with, especially today with 26 rebounds.”
Odom and Rashad, who were both high school stars and AAU teammates with the Germantown Lady Panthers, guided the Raptors to their 12th win while they continue to make a name for themselves at the junior college level.
“If I’m doing bad, she’ll pick me up,” explained Rashad. “If she’s doing bad, I pick her up. We work good together, give each other assists.”
The Gaithersburg graduate said she relishes the opportunity to play with a familiar face.
“It’s very exciting,” said Odom, who compiled 10 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and two steals against Cecil College. “I got someone to get boards [that] I can feed to in the post, and she will finish.”
The dynamic duo has made waves and impressed Gasque during their post-high school careers. Odom, a 5-foot-7 guard, and Rashad, a 5-foot-11 forward/center, lead the Raptors in scoring, and each has made a significant contribution to the program.
Odom ranks first on the team in several statistical categories, including points, assists, steals and three-point field goal percentage. Meanwhile, Rashad leads the team in blocks, field goal percentage and rebounds per game.
“It’s not the easiest thing to get a post player,” said Gasque, “and being able to get her and Jordan actually was huge for me, because in Montgomery County they’re actually known in the county from high school.”
Montgomery College jumped out to a 39-31 halftime advantage and kept their lead throughout the third and fourth quarters.
Odom drove down the lane and scored in traffic to extend the Raptors lead to 49-35, with 6:26 remaining in the third period. Odom’s layup at the end of the quarter gave the home team a 64-41 advantage entering the final stanza. In the fourth quarter, Odom scored a pair of baskets that helped Montgomery College take a commanding 68-41 lead against Cecil.
The Raptors also received significant contributions from Montgomery County Public School products Khienya Benjamin (Northwest), Mariah Ellis (Northwest) and Kenydi Cross (Poolesville), who all scored in double-figures.
“Mariah stepped up with defense,” said Odom, “and had a couple [of] shots in. I think she did good overall.”
Benjamin finished with 13 points, while Ellis scored 12 points and Cross added 10 points for the Raptors. Alexis Mack, a Northwest graduate, suffered an ankle injury during the game against Cecil, but Gasque expects her to return to the lineup soon.
The majority of the Montgomery College roster features student-athletes who graduated from Montgomery County Public Schools but also contains girls from Prince George’s County and local private schools, including Lauren Nelson from Covenant Life.
“That’s what I’m trying to do,” said Gasque, “and now that we can give scholarships, it makes a huge difference because I can say ‘I can give you some money if you don’t get the full aid that covers your tuition; I can pay for it,’ so that’s good.”