Nia Washington

Nia Washington

KE LU

Nia Washington, a former girls’ basketball standout at Colonial Forge High, figured she would have to wait her turn as a guard with Division I Iowa State.

And that has been the case for the Stafford resident, who ended her prep career at powerhouse Riverdale Baptist in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Washington averaged 8.0 minutes and 2.0 points per game off the bench last season as a freshman at Iowa State, and averaged 7.5 minutes and 1.4 points per contest as she played in 13 of the first 15 games this season as a sophomore.

“I sort of knew that would happen,” said Washington, who also attracted attention from the coaches at Radford University and Syracuse in New York.

What drew her to Iowa State?

“It was just a home environment. It felt like home,” said Washington, who had no connections to the school before she was recruited by the Cyclones.

So what is it like to come off the bench, after starting for four years in high school?

“It helps me to see new perspectives of the game, being a starter all of my life,” she said in a recent phone interview before a game at Baylor in Texas. “It humbles me; it makes me a better player.”

Washington was able to spend four days back in Stafford over the Christmas break before returning to the team. She is majoring in biology.

“It is kind of hard, but it is manageable,” she said of the balance between academics and Division I sports.

Washington is an only child and both of her parents played high school sports. Her father, Michael, played at Caroline High, while her mother, Bernice, competed in Mississippi.

Washington said her time at Riverdale Baptist was helpful, as she lived with a cousin in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

“I felt like it definitely helped me; a higher level of competition,” she said.

Washington played five minutes off the bench and did not score Sunday as Iowa State lost at West Virginia 57-49 in Big 12 play.

That left the Cyclones with a record of 7-8 overall and 1-3 in conference play. West Virginia entered the game ranked No. 12 in the nation.

Other Colonial Forge products at the college level in women’s hoops include Kenya Holland of Princeton of the Ivy League and Bri Sullivan of the College of Charleston of the Colonial Athletic Association.

Junior forward Sullivan had 11 points and four rebounds off the bench Jan. 7 as the Cougars lost to Delaware 68-59 in South Carolina.

She played in 12 of the first 15 games with three starts and averaged 4.4 points per contest.

Senior guard Holland had five points as a reserve Jan. 6 as Princeton defeated Penn 70-55 and improved to 11-3 overall.

JMU FALLS IN NATIONAL TITLE GAME

The James Madison University football team lost 17-13 on Jan. 6 in Texas in the national title game against North Dakota State.

The Dukes won the title last season and were ranked No. 1 in the national all season in 2017. JMU beat North Dakota State in the playoffs in 2016. North Dakota State has now won six of the last seven national titles at the Division I-AA level.

“We tried to put as much pressure on him as we could and then try to force the turnovers,” JMU head coach Mike Houston told reporters of NDSU quarterback Easton Stick. “That was our mindset taking the field in the second half. To his credit, he’s an experienced veteran quarterback, and you’ve got to have guys go out and perform like that to win a national championship.”

The Dukes roster this season ended three Stafford products: redshirt senior defensive lineman David Ezeagwu (Colonial Forge), freshman safety MJ Hampton (Stafford High) and redshirt freshman defensive back Reggie Collins (Brooke Point).

Ezeagwu and Hampton played against North Dakota State on Jan. 6 but did not register a tackle.

The Dukes won home playoff games against Stony Brook, Weber State and South Dakota State before heading to Texas for the title contest.

HAMILTON ENDS YEAR WITH PENN STATE

Graduate senior wideout Daesean Hamilton (Mountain View) had five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns for Penn State in a 35-28 win over Washington in the Fiesta Bowl in Florida on Dec. 30.

Hamilton started all 13 games in his last college season and had 53 catches, the fourth-best mark on the team but just four shy of the team lead.

David Driver can be reached at StaffordNews@insidenova.com.

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