Under the shadow of a phenom, Idom to return

As the FIU women’s basketball team begins its season, they will play in what is one of the most anticipated seasons in the 38 year history of the program.

After finishing with 19-13 last season, the Panthers were not able to overcome the top seeded Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee, falling short in the Sun Belt Conference semifinal game.

A new conference with better competition will prove to be a test for FIU, led by coach Cindy Russo in her 34th season at FIU, and the nations leading scorer in Division-1 women’s basketball last season, senior sensation Jerica Coley.

Leading up to the season, there has been plenty of chatter regarding FIU’s best player and believed phenom, Coley, who was nicknamed “Holy Coley” and now even has a website presenting her importance. However, it could be said that the 11 other members of the women’s basketball team have been lost in the spotlight of their teammate.

Junior guard Kamika Idom, Coley’s cousin, is one of those players.

Last year, Idom’s sophomore season was cut short due to a knee injury that sidelined her for almost half of the season. She returned back in time for the Sun Belt Conference championship but did not see the court nearly as much as she had before the Injury. Idom was only able to play in 19 of the Panthers’ games, starting in five of them.

“My knee is doing great, it is coming along and I feel much better,” Idom said. “It was rough last season. Since it was my first injury, it was tough coming back from it.”

Although her sophomore season was cut short last year, Idom still averaged 4.6 points a game, fourth best for the Panthers while only playing 17 minutes a game. Her 17 minutes placed her at sixth on the team for minutes.

Before the injury, Idom was almost always the first player off the bench for the Panthers filling in nicely at the sixth-man role. Idom shot 44 percent from the field, the second highest field goal percentage on the team while also recording just under three rebounds a game and 20 total steals on the season.

When taken into account the limited minutes she saw throughout the season, stats like these could be are impressive by the 5-foot-9 guard out of St. Petersburg, Fla.

The junior played for two different high schools in her hometown of St. Petersburg before beginning her collegiate career at FIU two seasons ago. During her last two seasons of high school, Idom averaged 16.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.2 blocks at St. Petersburg High.

She was named a two-time MVP while at St. Petersburg High while being coached by her mother, Tamika Coley. The elder Coley is the All-time leading scorer in University of Central Florida women’s basketball history.

So far this season, FIU has only played in one regular season game when they faced off against in-state rival Florida Gulf Coast University. The Panthers fell short to the Eagles 75-55.

Idom did not make an appearance in the team’s first game as she is still sidelined due to her knee. Typically for any athlete, their first game back from a knee injury like hers can be difficult and extremely nerve wracking.

As for Idom though, she cannot wait for her chance to be back on the court.

“Nervous? No, not at all,”Idom said. “I cannot wait, I am excited more than anything knowing i’ll be back better than ever.”

As for when she’ll be back?

“The next home game ill definitely be on the court, no question,”  Idom said.

FIU will look to bounce back from their rough first game as they begin a three-game road trip starting at UCF this Friday, Nov. 15.

The Panthers will then travel to Massachusetts to face off against Harvard and Boston College before returning home for the annual FIU Thanksgiving Classic at U.S. Century Bank Arena, where Idom will look to make her first appearance of the season.

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