If Ivory James can survive a childhood of playing basketball with or against five brothers in the backyard, she can survive anything this Wright State season has thrown at her.
The 5-foot-7 junior guard from Camden, N.J., is the second youngest of six children, and she’s the only girl. She rattles off the names of her brothers in the same time it would take to list the Raiders’ starting lineup: Anthony, Darnell, Eric, Derrick and Kyle.
“They treated me like they treat each other,” James said.
James is the first of her siblings to play college basketball, and she’s making the most of it. She was named Horizon League Newcomer of the Week for averaging 17 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games last week.
It’s the second time this season James has won the award. She was also honored on Jan. 28.
Going into Thursday’s regular-season finale against Cleveland State at the Nutter Center, James ranked 15th in the league in scoring (11.5), fourth in 3-point shooting (38 percent) and 13th in field-goal percentage (42.7).
“I just play hard and score and just try to be a team player basically,” James said. “(The award) means a lot.”
James played her freshman and sophomore seasons at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y. She averaged 10.4 points last season at Monroe and 9.6 as a freshman.
The Raiders needed more scoring from James when they lost Courtney Boyd and Mylan Woods early in the season to season-ending ACL injuries. James ranks second on the team in scoring and has helped take some of the load off the shoulders of Kim Demmings (19.7 points per game).
“She’s a great teammate,” James said. “I depend on her. The whole team depends on her.”
Wright State (11-17, 5-10) was tied with Cleveland State (13-15, 5-10) for sixth place going into Thursday’s game. Illinois-Chicago (9-18, 5-9) was a half game ahead of Wright State and Cleveland State and played Milwaukee (8-18, 4-10) on Thursday with one more game against Loyola (14-13, 9-5) on Saturday.
Unless the Raiders fall to the eighth seed, they will play on the road in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League tournament on Wednesday. The top four seeds host quarterfinal games. The eighth and ninth seeds meet in a first-round game on Monday, and the winner of that game plays the No. 1 seed.
Baseball: Weather continues to play havoc with the season. The Raiders’ home game against Otterbein was snowed out on Tuesday.
Wright State is scheduled to host Bryant at 4 p.m. Friday in the UD/WSU Tournament. It hosts Bradley in a doubleheader Saturday (noon and 3 p.m.) and then plays at Dayton at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Swimming: The men’s and women’s swimming teams both placed fifth at the Horizon League championships last weekend in Chicago.