Women's Basketball Invitational
Who: Stephen F. Austin vs. College of Charleston
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Where: TD Arena
Records: CofC 19-14; SFA 22-12.
While Jillian Brown is the floor general for the College of Charleston's women's basketball team and Alyssa Frye is the designated sharpshooter, Afreyea Tolbert might be the most versatile player on the team this season.
Tolbert, a senior, is a major reason why the Cougars (19-14) finished third in their inaugural season in the Colonial Athletic Association and are on the verge of playing in the championship game of the Women's Invitational Basketball tournament.
The Cougars take on Stephen F. Austin at 7 p.m. Thursday at TD Arena in the WBI semifinals.
Tolbert, a first-team All-CAA performer this season, has been a nightmare match-up for the opposition since she first stepped onto the Charleston campus two years ago.
At 5-10, Tolbert is quick enough to take defenders off the dribble, but strong enough to take smaller players in the post and score with ease. She also is capable of knocking down a mid-range jumper to keep defenders honest.
"Afreyea is just a tough match-up for any team," said College of Charleston coach Natasha Adair. "You get up in her face and she'll drive right by you with her speed. You play off of her and she'll hit that 15-foot jumper on you. She can also score with her back to the basket. She's just a very difficult player to defend."
Tolbert, who transferred from Northeastern after her sophomore season in 2011, is second on the team in scoring (14.2 ppg), leads the Cougars in rebounding (8.9 rpg), is second in assists (65) and third in steals (51). Tolbert finished the regular season with 10 double-doubles and four times scored more than 20 points.
And she's also a solid defender.
"I pride myself on being a good all-around player on both ends of the floor," Tolbert said. "If the team needs me to score, I can score. If they need me to rebound and play defense or pass the ball, I'll do that. It doesn't matter what they need, whatever they need me to do to help us win is fine with me."
Tolbert's talents on the both ends of the floor seem to mesh perfectly with that of Brown and Frye, Adair said.
"We're led by Jillian Brown because she has the ball in her hands most of the time," Adair said. "Alyssa opens the floor because she can shoot the ball. Afreyea's game, the way she plays, is a perfect fit with both Jillian and Alyssa. I think it's the main reason why we've been successful the last two years."
Tolbert said she hopes to leave the program with a WBI tournament title.
"Coach Adair is building something special here," Tolbert said. "I want this senior class to leave a legacy. To leave a foundation for the next class to build on."
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