Former West Oktibbeha player Shamia Robinson (20) receives instruction from MSU women's coach Sharon Fanning during the season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Former West Oktibbeha High School player Shamia Robinson is making up for lost time with the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs.
It has been a struggle for Robinson to stay on the court this season because of offseason surgery and other ailments.
As she has gotten healthy, Robinson's minutes have increased.
After not playing more than 10 minutes for the Lady Bulldogs in eight-straight games, Robinson has played over 20 in her last three outings. She played 22 minutes against Arkansas, 20 minutes against Florida and 26 minutes against Kentucky.
"This year has been crazy for me because I started with surgery that put me behind on a lot of stuff," Robinson said. "I got my heart back into the game, got more focused and dedicated. That's probably why my minutes have been increasing."
The adversity continued for Robinson prior to the Kentucky game, missing two days because of an illness.
MSU women's coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said it has been unfortunate that Robinson hasn't been available for the entire season because of her potential.
"You can see what kind of athlete she is," Fanning-Otis said. "She can play with any player in the country in terms of her athleticism. Now she is just going to have to make time and get the skills, but she has been out of practice and has not been able to develop the skill-set she needed going into this year."
Robinson was a two-time Starkville Daily News Player of the Year during her time with the Lady Timberwolves in Maben.
As a senior, she averaged 18.9 points per game and led West Oktibbeha to an 18-11 record.
Robinson averaged 18.8 points per outing as a junior for the Lady Timberwolves as a junior and 18.9 points per game as a sophomore.
This will be the only season for Robinson to play for Fanning-Otis as the coach announced last week that she was retiring, effective at the end of the season.
Robinson has enjoyed her time as a freshman under the leadership of Fanning-Otis and prepares for the next coach of the Lady Bulldogs.
"This year coming in, I felt like I was in high school all over again because of the (Fanning-Otis') love," Robinson said. "With her leaving, it's going to be difficult for me because I chose this school because of her. No matter who comes in, I'm willing to adapt and willing to learn. My mind is always open to new ideas and new things. It's a part of life."
Fanning-Otis hopes Robinson and the other returning players will have that type of attitude for the next person to lead the program.
"With the kids returning, it's a solid group," Fanning-Otis said. "You can see some ability there and some areas where we need to get better. As you establish a system and players learn each other and they stay together, you'll see that difference as they continue to grow. Shamia is going to be a very important part of this as the other kids."
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