By DeAngelo Berry
KINGSTON, R.I. – After missing parts of each of her first three seasons, senior Samantha Tabakman has put together the best year of her career for Rhode Island.
Tabakman missed at least seven games in each of her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons while recovering from various injuries. This season has been a different story, as she has started all 18 games and already has set career highs in points (249) and rebounds (152).
Tabakman cited her off-season preparation as one of the contributing factors to her health this season.
"We have a great summer strength and conditioning program which has helped prevent injuries to our team," Tabakman said.
Finally healthy, Tabakman ranks among the Atlantic 10 leaders in several categories. The senior forward and tri-captain leads the conference with a .556 shooting percentage, is sixth in rebounding at 8.4 per game and is 13th in scoring with 13.8 per game. She also is fifth in blocked shots, averaging 1.8 per contest.
Her .556 shooting percentage ranks 28th nationally, and Tabakman is also on pace to break Rhode Island's 30-year old record for single-season shooting percentage of .543, set by Michele Washington in the 1984-85 season. Tabakman also is a force on defense with 119 career blocks and will likely finish her career third in program history in blocked shots.
"It's really awesome to be playing this well and giving all I can to the program for my last season," Tabakman said. "But I don't really keep track of my own personal milestones."
Tabakman's breakthrough season is having a positive effect on her teammates as well. Her play on the inside has left the guards on the team more open for shots, and Rhode Island has made 121 3-pointers this season. With an average of 6.7 3-pointers per game as a team, the Rams are on pace to break the program's single-season record of 152, set during the 2007-08 season.
For now, though, Tabakman is focused on helping her team finish strong. Rhode Island visits Massachusetts Wednesday looking for its third straight victory. With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Rams want to finish strong and position themselves well for the Atlantic 10 Championship being played in Richmond in March.
Tabakman and fellow co-captains, Tayra Melendez and Brianna Thomas will be looking to lead Rhode Island down the stretch. The leadership role is one Tabakman has embraced this season.
"(Melendez and Thomas) have experience that has helped me out," Tabakman said. "We have big things coming up for the rest of the season."
Tabakman Putting Together Strongest Season in Senior Year
By DeAngelo Berry