If you watch the Drury Lady Panthers play, you’ll see likely Paige Robinson scoring plenty of points.
“When you’re in that role and you have a lot of that pressure to do those things, it’s a hard situation but she understands what that looks like and how to handle that and continues to thrive in that I think,” said Drury Head Coach Amy Eagan.
Through eight games, Robinson has averaged more than 21 points per game, leading the Lady Panthers in scoring in six of their eight contests.
“You just have to have a lot of self-confidence, you can’t doubt yourself,” Robinson said. “You just have to go out and play the game you know you can play.”
Robinson’s game has always been geared toward scoring, averaging more than 14 points per game last season.
But this is no ordinary jump to a leading role, as the junior has taken the place of two-time National Player of the Year, Hailey Diestelkamp.
“It was kind of hard, Hailey scoring 50 a game, 40 a game,” Robinson said. “I was like ‘man, can I do that?’”
With a season high of 37, she’s come awfully close, and credits her high school experience for preparing her.
“I saw a lot of double teams and stuff in high school too, so almost knew what I was going to be seeing in college,” Robinson said.
Still, stepping in for Diestelkamp means stepping in for one the most accomplished players in Division II history.
“I think it takes a special kid to be able to do that, because it’s not easy,” Eagan said.
When teams focus on stopping Paige from scoring, she sees an opportunity to keep getting better.
“I have open eyes to the whole court,” she said. “I think I can hit a girl on the three-point line, I can hit her down low. I can send it full court so I think I’ve really focused on facilitating the ball a lot this year.”
So far so good, as Robinson tallied six assists in Drury’s last game before quarantine, helping five teammates score 10-plus points in a blowout win.
That gives Eagan plenty of reason to smile.
“It shows a lot about our team too, and the other kids that Paige has surrounding her and what we’re going to be able to hopefully do this year,” Eagan said.
The Lady Panthers are scheduled to resume their season January 30 at Maryville.