By Rob Witham
It was a different feeling from her first experience as a Campbell University Camel leaving Willett Hall after a game at Longwood University. Despite scoring 18 points, all in the second half and in overtime, Price and her Camel teammates fell to the Lancers 57-50 in overtime in Big South women’s basketball action Saturday, not earning a road win in Farmville like they did in her freshman season.
In the blink of an eye, Price has transformed from wide-eyed freshman to seasoned senior. But for the 2014 Patrick Henry graduate, as she heads into the final weeks of her senior season, the current focus is to finish strong and earn a bye to the Big South Championship Quarterfinals on March 9. She is keenly aware, however, of the many “lasts” just ahead of her, and everything she’s experienced to get to this point.
“All four years, there’s a lot of different challenges you meet. Making it through those is the most challenging part of this,” Price noted courtside Saturday at Longwood following the game. “
To understand where Price is takes a few moments to chronicle where the Beaverdam native has been. Coming into a Patrick Henry girls basketball program filled with future college players from the school’s all-time leading scorer Taylor Huber, to future Randolph-Macon star Katie Anderson, plus Jasmine and Tyler Pinder, future members of the Bridgewater Eagles, Price quickly found her role.
By her sophomore season, she was a major contributor to a Patriot squad that went 23-3, a win shy of the semifinals in the former Central Region Championship Tournament. Price, along with teammate Amber Lee, took center stage the following year, earning Patrick Henry a Colonial District championship.
By the time of her graduation, Price had scored 1,559 career points, fifty more than her former teammate Anderson. Her next stop was over three hours to the south down Interstate 95 to Buies Creek, North Carolina, and Campbell University.
Campbell’s program at the time would remind some of Randolph-Macon’s in one respect, the tenure of Wanda Watkins. Watkins recruited Price to Campbell and coached her for two seasons before deciding in March, 2016 to step down after 35 seasons and 549 wins to move into an administrative position with the Camels.
In came Ronny Fisher, and in her junior season, Price earned Second Team All Big South honors, averaging 13.4 points per contest as the Camels earned the sixth twenty-win season in school history, going 21-10. Price kicked off her final season by reaching the 1,000 point plateau, again, this time thanks to a then career-high 28 points in a victory over UNC-Greensboro on November 25th.
But the 2017-18 season has seen its share of ups and downs, as the Camels’ loss at Longwood placed them at 6-8 in Big South play, 13-12 overall. A season-ending injury to sophomore Taya Bolden, a former standout at Highland Springs, didn’t help the Camels’ cause. On Saturday, an 0-for-7 start from the floor, scoring just three points in the first period, robbed Campbell of the strong start usually needed in order to grab a road win in conference.
“They were able to put us under pressure a little more than we should have been”, Price noted about the team’s slow start, thanks to a combination of cold shooting and Longwood’s full-court press. “We’ve got to better prepare next time.”
Price leads the Camels in scoring averaging 15.4 points per game. Her season-high five steals on Saturday gave her 33 on the season so far. With the end of basketball in sight, Price’s next goal is completing the final steps towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science.
And Price is refreshingly honest when asked about the best part of her collegiate experience.
“The best is making it to my senior year,” Price opined. “I’m here now.”