By Daniel Galloway/The Guardsman
Rams women’s basketball team captain Raquel Torres has been captain of every team for which she’s starred on.
The captain led by example on March 1, when the Rams defeated the Contra Costa Comets 98-80 in the playoffs.
Torres scored a team-high 24 points with five three-pointers and had four assists.
“Im not really big on going for the big stats, but I definitely want to do whatever it takes to win and fortunately, the three-point shot fell for me,” Torres said.
It is now playoff basketball for the Rams. Torres believes success will depend on work ethic and realizing a common goal.
Torres and her teammates practice three hours a day, two hours on the court and one in the weight room.
“To prepare for the postseason, you [have to] have a tunnel vision for the team, a common goal which is a state championship,” Torres said. “You must [come to] every practice and play every game like it’s your last and never take any moment for granted.”
Torres, a Vallejo native who plays point guard at City College, said that her oldest brother Raymond introduced her to basketball when she was in the second grade.
Wearing the number 10 on her jersey, a number that is not worn by many other popular professional basketball players, Torres believes it gives her an identity by not following other famous athletes.
“[Number three] has always been my number because of (Allen) Iverson, but when I got to high school an older girl had it, so I only had a few to choose from,” Torres said. “I thought [number 10] was the best out of my choices. But now it’s cool, I made it my number not really following a particular player.”
Torres says basketball affects her everyday life by helping her to stay motivated and work hard.
“I’ve experienced many pressure situations and a lot of adversity on the court,” Torres said. “It helps me handle similar situations in life, just because through basketball I’ve learned to keep my composure.”
Basketball has built Torres’ character on and off the court.
“The main thing [basketball] built was my leadership,” Torres said.
Torres proves she is a leader on and off the court. Even in school, she is not afraid to take charge when it comes to school projects while interacting with other classmates.
“Basically it contributed to my leadership and work ethic,” Torres said. “It personally came through basketball.”
Torres is generating some recruiting interest, but Rams coaches don’t often tell their players which schools are looking at them because they want them to stay focused and not get ahead of themselves.
“As of right now, I don’t know who’s looking at me,” Torres said. “All I know is I’m grateful to play.”
This season, the Rams have three freshmen and six sophomore players, but overall only eight of them are getting significant playing time.
With some familiar faces back this season, Torres feels very confident in her team for the 2014 postseason.
“Honestly I feel great about our team. I have confidence this year based off our experience together,” Torres said. “Our coach always says ‘the better we play together, the better it highlights us individually.’”
Torres and her teammates go to study hall two to three times a week for two hours after practice.
“It’s mandatory for every single member,” Torres said.
Torres takes the bus from Vallejo to El Cerrito, then takes BART to City College, where she is finishing prerequisites for her nursing major.
“I commute [to City College] every day,” Torres said. “Being here with my family is worth it.”
Torres’ bond with this season’s Rams may lead to something special, whether or not the Rams win a state championship.
“We’re a family,” Torres said. “Nothing we face or go up against can break our bond. We just go out and fight together until the end.”