By Shannon Cole
It’s all going according to plan for the City College women’s basketball team.
The Rams stormed through the regular season with an impressive 25-3 record against their opponents. The women’s exemplary performance during the regular season earned them the number one seed going into the California Community College Athletics Association’s playoff tournament that began on February 24.
Like their counterparts on the men’s team, the top-ranked Rams got a rest day while two teams competed for the privilege of playing them. College of the Sequoias bested San Jose City College, stamping their ticket to the playoffs as the seventeenth seed in the tournament.
But as soon as they’d arrived in the tournament, the Rams sent them home packing. Sequoias forwards Alexandria Tobie and Dakota Olivers scored 21 and 15 points respectively, but they were no match for the offensive onslaught of Rams freshman guard Gabrielle Vigil, who led her team to victory with 26 points in the 71-55 rout.
Following their decisive win over College of the Sequoias, the Rams met their next opponents in College of the Siskiyous. The matchup proved to be unbalanced, with the Rams easily pulling ahead early by limiting the Siskiyous to just 12 points in the first quarter. Freshman guard Malliya Alapati sank all three of her 3-pointers and freshman Brianna Deckman made 3 of her seven 3-point attempts.
Sophomore guard and CCCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year Kelly Wong explained what kept the Rams in the game over Siskiyous.
“We knew they were a shooting team, so we knew we had to defend the perimeter a lot. And we knew we had bigs as our advantage as well, so we tried to work it into the post so that would open up our 3-pointers,” Wong said.
Defensive strategies were an integral part of the win. “We tried to make sure we limited their transition points, cos that’s where they were getting a lot of points off our missed shots, so we tried to focus on that and keep eliminating their 3-pointers”, Wong said.
We Meet Again
After plowing their way through teams from the far reaches of northern California, the Rams took on a more familiar foe in Diablo Valley College Vikings, one of only two teams that have bested the Rams this season. When they last met on December 27, the Vikings managed to pull the win away from the Rams in the game’s final quarter for a 78-74 victory.
Knowing they’d be facing a team that got the best of them earlier in the season didn’t seem to affect the Rams’ state of mind.
“It’ll be a good motivation to see how much we’ve improved over the season. I think it’ll be a good challenge for us”, Wong said.
The Vikings stormed onto Brad Duggan Court on Saturday in high energy. Like most of the Rams games this season, the tipoff was won by sophomore center Danielle Palmer. This helped the Rams open with a 10-0 run in the first quarter and gave them the momentum they needed to control majority of the game.
Despite persecution from the referees, the Rams were able to hold the Vikings to just 17 points in the first half by using their speed and strength to wear down the opposing defense.
Freshman Gabrielle Vigil once again led the Rams in scoring, relying on her diminutive size and superior speed to sneak past defenders and take the ball deep. The tenacious guard showcased her offensive and defensive skills, proving to the Vikings that you don’t have to be tall to play a big game.
On March 11, the tournament moves across the bay to Livermore, where the Rams will take on their first opponent from southern California—the East Los Angeles College Huskies.
Taking the court for the Rams will be Northern California Player of the Year guard Gabrielle Vigil, second team Northern California All-State center Danielle Palmer, second team Coast-North Conference guard Cassidy Chan, CCCAA scholar athlete of the year Kelly Wong, and Coast-North Conference coach of the year Derek Lau leading.
“It will be a fast-paced, up-and-down shoot-it-up game. The just play a great brand of basketball, they are very well coached, and they play solid defense. They are very similar to us,” said Lau to City College staff.
Should the Rams eliminate the Huskies, they would move on to the state final on Sunday, March 13. This year’s Rams hope to be the first City College team ever to win the state basketball championship.
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