College basketball isn’t like the high school game. But former Laney girls basketball star Khadijiah Cave is ready.
The Baylor freshman will begin her collegiate career at 8 tonight when the No. 10 Lady Bears play Grambling State in the season opener.
Cave got her first experience at this new level in two exhibition games, where she scored in double figures both times.
“I was nervous,” Cave said. “But after I ran up the court once or twice, I felt like I was playing back in high school again.”
Playing a total of 33 minutes in the exhibitions, Cave scored 24 total points, had 20 rebounds and blocked four shots. Her 20 boards tied her for the team lead for the two games.
Cave was usually the tallest and best player on the court her senior season at Laney. She averaged 23.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 7.6 blocks per game as the Lady Wildcats were undefeated until they lost in the Class AA state championship game.
Chances are she will continue to see plenty of wins in college. Though Baylor lost WNBA No. 1 pick Brittney Griner, who’s the NCAA record holder for career blocks, the Lady Bears return All-America guard Odyssey Sims and bring in a talented five-member freshman class.
“It motivates me to get up to where I want to be,” Cave said about following Griner. “It’s good I can look up to that.”
As expected, there’s been some adjusting to college life. She’s spending more time in the weight room and is learning how to better control her fouling.
When Cave talks about her role, she doesn’t bring up shot totals or hopes of 20-point games. She’s targeting rebounds and blocks – any talk about scoring is associated with putbacks.
Right now, she’s all about learning and enjoying the new stage.
“I told myself, ‘Hey, I’m here to play basketball,’ ” Cave said. “I’ll do what I have to and need to do. It’s different, but it’s a new experience and I’m taking it one step at a time.”