Originally created 01/19/00

Early bloomer hoping to go out on good note



Christy Bromley could be laying out on the beach now.

In her New Zealand homeland, it's the middle of summer -- a sharp contrast to Augusta's current climate. However, it's the middle of basketball season for the Augusta State senior point guard and she has her own storm to weather tonight.

Bromley and her Lady Jaguar teammates will host a USC Aiken basketball team known for raining 3-pointers at the Augusta State athletic complex at 5:30 p.m.

"Ever since I arrived here, it's always been that Aiken has been right across the way from us. The rivalry has been installed from previous players," Bromley said.

Bromley leads the Lady Jaguars (8-5, 3-2) with 12 points and 3.69 assists per game. She is also fourth in the Peach Belt in free-throw shooting at 85 percent.

However, the Lady Pacers (10-5, 2-3) lead the conference with 7.93 3-pointers a game. Aiken's Janell Gerk leads the PBAC in scoring with 18.5 points a game and 5.0 3-pointers made a game.

Both of these teams were picked tied to finish last in the PBAC this year in a preseason poll. Bromley, though, has helped lead her team to a current second-place standing in the North Division.

"As Christy goes, so goes the team," first-year Lady Jaguar coach Greg Wilson said. "When she's on, we're on. When she's not, we lack identity."

Bromley has known her role since replacing point guard Hayley Lystlund in 1996. As a freshman, Bromley averaged 13.4 points a game, set the single season steals record of 111 and was named to the all-PBAC second team.

Her next two years, though, Bromley's productivity dropped off. She averaged less than 10 points a game her sophomore and junior years. Last season, she shot a career-low 36 percent from the floor.

However, this year has given her a chance to resurrect her career.

"I want to end the season on a better note, getting the team up to a level where we should be," Bromley said. "I'm supposed to be a leader. I'm a senior and I want to lead like a senior. I don't want everybody to think, `Oh she was so great as a freshman, but what happened?' I want everybody to be like, `She was a great senior."'

Bromley is approaching Lystlund's career record of 510 assists, needing only 37 more to break the mark. But Bromley doesn't take the record too seriously.

"She did that in two years," she said of the assists record. "It takes me four years to do what she did in two years. But that's cool."

Bromley originally thought that basketball in the United States would help her improve her skills so she could return to New Zealand and play. However, the sport has helped change her focus somewhat and Bromley will get a marketing degree as she will graduate from Augusta State in December.

"When I first got here, basketball was all this and that," she said. "But now I see it more as a stepping stone to better things in life."

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.