Imani Holloway: A silver lining

Growing pains.

Every sports team encounters them, but for Imani Holloway and the Santa Monica College women's basketball team, the past two seasons have been filled with them.

Holloway was the lone sophomore on a team full of freshmen this season, one year removed from another team comprised mostly of fresh out of high school recruits.

The Lady Corsairs struggled mightily through the past few seasons, but there's a silver lining in everything and Holloway was just that.

A local standout from Santa Monica High School, Holloway was named to the Western State South all-conference team in February.

She led the Lady Corsairs in scoring with 14.9 points per game and pulled down just about 10 rebounds per game, good enough for second overall in the conference.

"I feel that I did my best during the season," she said. "You can always do more, but I feel like I really showed out my sophomore year and it ended with a good title."

Basketball didn't always come so easy for Holloway at the junior college level. She went through a bit of an adjustment period during her freshman season.

"The pace and speed is a lot faster, my first year I wasn't used to it," she said. "But I got used to it fast and now it's regular."

Being the only returning member of last season's team, Holloway took on added responsibilities including a new leadership role.

"I was never on a team where I had to be a leader. This year was the first time I had to actually step outside my comfort zone and run things," she said. "It was a good experience, I'm not used to being so demanding."

Stepping up as a team leader also entails being able to keep locker-room harmony despite on court disappointment.

Holloway was able to help maintain unity while urging the team not to dwell on past mistakes.

"Together we just tried to stay close and positive," she said. "We tried to keep a positive mind-set, and just move forward from it."

Despite having an influx of new teammates, Holloway enjoyed getting to know, and play alongside the rest of the team.

To her, they weren't all that different from herself, being only one year younger.

"It was really interesting, basketball wise I felt like we learned a lot together," said Holloway. "I learned from them, they learned from me; we connected really well."

With her final year of basketball eligibility at SMC in the books, Holloway has already begun to make plans for the future, one that she hopes will include being miles away from Los Angeles.

Her talent and skill have already put her on the radar of upper level universities.

"I just want to get out of California and go far" she said. "I have some offers, but I haven't chosen yet. I'm just trying to get everything on the table."

After that, there may even be a professional future in sight.

"I want to go overseas after college. I want this to continue, I don't want it to end," said Holloway.

No matter where basketball takes her, Holloway is clear that she will remember SMC very fondly.

"It was a lot of learning, a lot of growing; I met long time friends here," said Holloway. "The coaches are amazing, I had a good two years here."