COLUMBIA — Being a supportive teammate comes easy for Columbia College women's basketball players Whitney Davis, Whitney Widaman and Rachel Oswald.
The senior captains have been playing and supporting each other since they were in their early teens. They became involved in the Mid-Missouri's basketball scene at a young age and knew about each other and their skills well before they met.
Whitney Davis, Whitney Widaman and Rachel Oswald each scored in double figures for the Columbia College women's basketball team in a 77-61 victory over Avila (Mo.) University on Monday in the Cougars' home opener.
Widaman had 19 points with four 3-pointers and finished with six steals. Davis had 14 points and eight assists, while Oswald had 11 points.
Columbia College (1-1), ranked No. 14 in the NAIA preseason top 25 poll, led 34-23 at halftime, outrebounded Avila 40-37 and forced the Eagles (2-2) into 27 turnovers, including 16 in the first half.
Columbia College plays next against Lindenwood at 7 p.m. in St. Charles.
Davis was 12 and Oswald was 13 when they finally became teammates on the Lady Storm AAU summer league team. Widaman entered the picture a few years later at 15 when all three played for the Missouri Showtime AAU summer team.
"We went to tournaments all over and were really close," Davis said.
As high school began the trio remained close. Davis and Oswald attended Boonville High School, while Widaman attended Mexico Senior High.
Boonville and Mexico never played each other during their high school seasons, giving them an opportunity to support each other when they played in district and conference games.
"We would go to each other's games," Davis said.
Outside of the basketball season, the three friends stayed close.
"We kept up with each other the best we could before Facebook," Oswald said.
Playing together and being friends for years, made the decision to play at Columbia College easy at least for Davis and Widaman. They were big influences in where the other went to school.
Columbia College was the only school that was recruiting both Davis and Widaman.
"We helped each other a lot in deciding what school to go to," Davis said.
Davis and Widaman both visited Columbia College the same weekend. After discussing their visits, they decided to sign and be roommate’s freshman year.
"We like how we played together and we decided to come together," Widaman said.
Oswald's journey to Columbia College took a few more turns.
After playing for MU women's basketball team for a year and then taking a semester off, Oswald found herself playing with Davis and Widaman again when Oswald transferred to Columbia College.
"Knowing they were there made the transfer to Columbia College easier," Oswald said, "I already had a support system."
Theirfriendship has a positive impact on the team, and they have all emerged as leaders serving as co-captains beginning in the 2008-09 season.
"We are all really dedicated to it," Davis said. "We put a lot of time into the team and it means a lot to us."
Widaman said she feels the similarly.
"We can have fun, but we can also get down to serious business," Widaman said.
They have a mature approach to being teammates and friends. If they get frustrated with each other on the court, it stays on the court.
"Once we cross Rangeline, its all over," Widaman said.
As their season begins and senior year continues, all three are uncertain of their plans for after Columbia College. But they can still count on each other.
"We'll stay in touch for sure," Oswald said.