Sunday, February 2, 2014

Iona Stars Martinez, Adams Making Historical Runs

We were treated to our third viewing of the Iona women's basketball team this season ... twice in person, once via the magic of the internet.

In case you haven't noticed: the Gaels' most-recent victory, by an 80-66 tally over Siena Saturday afternoon, was the program's 18th in a row.

That's the fourth-longest active winning streak nationally, trailing only defending national champion UConn (28), Notre Dame (20) and Stanford (19).

There are certainly individual reasons why Iona is having such success. Every player in the starting lineup, entering Saturday's contest, was among the top five nationally in some statistical category.

But, beyond that we should recognize that we're witnessing individual history taking place.

That's coming in the form of the team's top two players, junior guard Damika Martinez and sophomore forward Joy Adams.

If each remains healthy and continues to produce numbers anywhere near their current rate, each could top the all-time MAAC statistical chart in their respective specialty.

The 5-foot-7 Martinez is a rarely gifted offensive player. Her 33 points against Siena pushed her career total to 1,565 points.

That total places her 32nd all time on the MAAC's career scoring list for women. Her team has eight remaining regular-season games. Let's say the Gaels make it to the championship game of the MAAC tournament and, in all likelihood, play one national post-season tournament game.

That means Iona will probably play 12 more games this season. Martinez is averaging 24.8 points per game this season. If she keeps up that pace, she'll add 298 more points to her career total this year.

That would push her career total up to 1,863, 11th-best all time in MAAC history.

It would also give her 794 points this season.

If she keeps up her current pace and duplicates that number again next season as a senior ... we'd be looking at a career total of 2,667 points, and that total would shatter the MAAC's current record.

Right now the MAAC's career scoring leader is Patty Stoffey of Loyola with 2,467 points. So, Martinez even has a sizable cushion in her chase for the all-time top spot.

Adams, the 5-11 forward, is chasing league history among rebounders.

She had 13 rebounds against the Saints on Saturday, pushing her career total to 642. Her per-game rebound average this season is 13.8 per contest.

If she maintains that pace through 12 more games this year, that would give her 166 more rebounds this year and a career total of 808.

That would place her 27th on the MAAC's all-time career rebounding list, amazingly by just the end of her sophomore season.

Tack on two more seasons at her current rate this season, which would be another 1,284, or so, rebounds ...

That would push her career total to more than 2,000 career rebounds.

The current career rebounding record in the MAAC is held by former Manhattan standout Rosalee Mason (1,217). Adams, barring injury or other unforeseen circumstances, is all but certain to surpass that mark just beyond the midway point of her junior season.

And, then, she begins chasing some historical marks on the national level.

There is only one woman's player in NCAA history with more than 2,000 career rebounds, Courtney Paris a 2008 graduate of Oklahoma who has 2,034 career rebounds.

There's a long way to go for Adams, but if all goes well we might be witnessing her pursuit of that all-time Division I record about two years from now.

It is all history in the making for Martinez and Adams at Iona, two of the top individual players in a statistical sense to ever play in the MAAC.

And we're fortunate to be watching it happen right now.

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