For Charliss Ridley, it was a long road to 1,000.
Ridley, a senior at Columbia College, scored her 1,000th point Tuesday night as the Cougars beat Williams Baptist (Ark.) 74-49 at Southwell Complex. Her milestone comes after only a year and a half at Columbia College.
Ridley is the fourth Columbia College women’s basketball player to score more than 1,000 points in her career. Fellow senior Lisa Kowalewski leads all scorers with 1,940 and counting.
After transferring from MU, Ridley had to sit out half the season with a torn ACL. She said her motto after the injury was to “go from devastated to determined.”
“I didn’t know how I was going to do here and how I would mesh in with the team,” Ridley said. “But I’m very happy with the way things have gone.”
Ridley finished with 18 points, leading all scorers.
Senior forward Mindy Mitchem was also celebrating a milestone.
Mitchem turned 22 on Tuesday, and said it’s been a tradition to play basketball on her birthday since high school.
“My mom brings a tiara and a birthday cake with a big embarrassing picture on it,” she said.
Mitchem made up for the embarrassment with aggressive play on offense. She scored 12, seven above her average.
Despite winning big, Cougars coach Mike Davis said he thought the team “got a little lax.”
The Cougars led 33-11 with five minutes left in the first half, only to allow Williams Baptist to score 12 more in the half.
Davis said sometimes a quick start can be a negative.
“You’re not going to get those easy points all night,” Davis said. “You have to do the dirty work.”
Part of that dirty work included rebounding. The Cougars were outrebounded by Williams Baptist 20-18 in the first half.
The Eagles continued to rebound well at the beginning of the second half, getting five quick points on second chances. This stretch prompted a Cougar timeout, in which Davis told his team to “get on the boards.”
The team seemed to get the message, finishing the game with 46 rebounds to William Baptist’s 41.
Coach Davis said his players’ high goals have caused them to look for areas to improve in even after a win.
“Here we are, winning by 25 and saying, ‘We didn’t play as well as we needed to,’” Davis said. “But I think we’ve developed some high expectations, and we don’t want any steps backward.”