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Shumate fits right in at Evanston

12/04/2012, 8:14pm CST
By Dan Shalin

Dashae Shumate, a Niles West transfer, is off to a nice start with her new team at Evanston.

11/30/12 Glenview Glenbrook South's Lindsey Oldshue (30) puts up some defense against Evanston's Dashae Shumate (22) during their basketball game Friday. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media

Evanston junior Dashae Shumate said the 41-37 win at Glenbrook South in the Central Suburban League South opener for both teams had special meaning because the Titans had ended her 2011-12 season.

Shumate was a member of the Niles West squad last season that fell 48-46 to Glenbrook South in the Class 4A New Trier Sectional semifinal.

“Glenbrook South kicked us out of the playoffs last season. It was a big game for me,” Shumate said after Friday’s contest in which she scored 11 points, including what proved to be the game-winning 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining in the fourth. “It was a big game for Evanston because they had lost to GBS twice last season. It was a big deal.”

That Shumate might seem comfortable during key moments of big games should not be all the surprising considering her Niles West team spent much of the last two years in the spotlight

Led by All-American Jewell Loyd, now a freshman at Notre Dame, Niles West went 44-18 during those two campaigns, twice won regional crowns and played in several high-profile shootout games against quality opponents.

Shumate played major minutes for those clubs. But like most of her teammates, she took a bit of a backseat to the prolific Loyd.

But Shumate, a 5-foot-9, guard/forward, said the experience did wonders for her game.

“(Loyd) is an awesome player and watching her for two years helped me with my game and my growth and to see things on the court that I didn’t see before,” she said. “It was nice playing with her, nice watching her.”

Since announcing intention to transfer to Evanston in the summer, Shumate has been a welcome addition to the already-talented Wildkits.

“Dashae fits in well. It’s like she’s been here all four years,” said senior Alecia Cooley, the team’s star center. “Her clutch shots and her defense have just been a bonus for our team. I can tell she’s more experienced with game situations like (the tight contest against Glenbrook South).”

Through six games, Shumate was averaging 11 points for the undefeated Wildkits. She had 17 points and six rebounds in the season-opening 59-51 win over Zion-Benton and 14 in a 63-44 win over Maine East on Nov. 27.

“The addition of Dashae has given us an instant offensive threat that defenses need to key on,” Wildkits head coach Elliot Whitefield said. “She is fearless when attacking the basket and has a better shot than people think.

“Her experience competing in big games already has made an impact. Dashae has been great on and off the floor and her teammates love her.”~.

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