Robinson making waves at Milligan

Published 3:09 pm Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sarah-Robinson (1)

After defeating St. Andrews Saturday, the Milligan College Lady Buffaloes moved their record to 8-0, giving them one of their best starts ever.

And former Elizabethton Lady Cyclones Sarah Robinson, who has started in every game besides the first this season, is right in the middle of the mix. According to her former Lady Cyclones coach Len Dugger, who will be leading the Lady Cyclones in their search for another trip to state, Robinson’s big freshman year does not surprise him at all.

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“Coach (Rich) Aubry will probably deny this, but one day at Chick-Fil-A, I told him Sarah was going to cause him some problems,” Coach Dugger said last Thursday during Kayla and Kelci Marosites’ ETSU signing. “He said, ‘Well, she is a good kid.’ I said, ‘No. I’m not talking about that. She is going to come in there, and she is going to take some people’s places. She is going to play real quick for you.’

“You know, what she is doing does not surprise me at all,” Dugger added. “She is one heck of an athlete. And she has a real good basketball IQ. Sarah is able to make plays.”

“Her athleticism allows her to do things not only offensively, but also defensively,” Dugger said. “It also allows her to rebound. She is an outstanding rebounder and a quick rebounder. She jumps more than once.”

As her former coach, it brings a smile to Dugger’s face hearing about how well Robinson is doing during her collegiate debut.

“I am so happy for her,” he said.

As of Saturday, Robinson has started in seven games, while playing in eight, during which she has already accumulated 96 points, giving her an average of roughly 13 points a game. Her best showing this season was during the Lady Buffaloes’ 86-62 win over Warren Wilson College. The freshman had 19 points and 14 rebounds during the win, giving her her second double-double of the season. By the time the Lady Buffaloes’ 71-68 upset Tennessee Wesleyan on Nov. 21, during which Robinson had 16 points and 14 rebounds, she had recorded four double-doubles this year. With 87 rebounds over the course of eight games, Robinson is averaging 10.88 boards a game, and is currently tied with Mycah Hulst from Dordt College for eighth in the nation in NAIA Division 2 rebounding.

Milligan head coach Rich Aubrey, who is in his 23rd season coaching with Milligan, knew before the start of the 2015-16 season that Robinson was going to be a big part of this year Lady Buffaloes’ team.

“From the minute last Spring when she started to come to open gyms with us and spend time with our play, it became very apparent that her best basketball was ahead of her,” Aubrey said Monday evening. “I think the college game really suits her skill set. We are very excited not only with her start but with all of the potential that lies ahead of her.”

For many players, the transition from the high school court to the collegiate one can be difficult, Aubrey said. It is uncommon for a freshman to have such a huge start during their first season, and Aubrey feels that a lot of Robinson’s success comes from her set of skills and her history with a very successful program. While Robinson played with the  Lady Cyclones, they won the TSSAA Class AA State Championship in 2014, before making a consecutive trip the following year in 2015.

“When you have somebody like Sarah, who played on such a successful high school team, they usually adjust quicker,” Aubrey said. “You know, she had to do the dirty work first. She is great defender and she is a great rebounder and those thing she has always done.

She is really coming into her own in terms of her offensive skills,” Aubrey added. “She has really improved her shot a lot over the course of the spring and summer.

“She has always had great skills around the basket. But in the college game, things are a little more wide open, so it creates more opportunities for cutter and drivers inside,” Aubrey added.  “So we are able to get Sarah some more space in there, and she takes advantage of it.”

While Robinson’s career at Milligan is still young, Dugger and Aubrey both agree that Robinson’s early successes are just the start of big things to come.

“I think she is going to be one of their all-time greats before she leaves,” Dugger said.