Women’s basketball looks forward to another shot at a conference title

By Nick Squires and Bonta Hill
Staff Writer and Editor

City College women’s basketball team is ready for another spectacular season. With players who are determined to capitalize on last season’s record and return to the State Playoffs, the team is stronger, faster and focused on winning.

“Every year we have expectations,” Head Coach Jamie Wong said. “Setting the goal this year was simple…come in first place and win our Conference championship.”

The team has been working hard during the off-season, developing their speed by training on the track, building up strength in the weight room and increasing their skill and confidence in tournaments over the summer.

“Our post players are in much better shape than in years past. They are returning sophomores who worked hard during our off-season and now run the floor well and are extremely physically strong. This will play perfectly with the up-tempo style that we like to teach [at City College]. It isn’t a philosophy, it’s a prerequisite,” Wong said.

With the loss of assistant coaches Marissa Evans-Ling and Duane Bell, the program has gone through other important changes in the off-season. Even with the coaching staff cut in half, the team appears stronger than ever.

“We still have two powerhouse coaches with Derek [Lau] and Jaime, and we feel confident,” forward Monique Calvello said. “Having two coaches puts more pressure on players to pick things up quicker than they did last year. We’re a lot smarter.”

With many new players, the cooperation shown by the team in off-season practices energizes the team’s outlook on the upcoming season. Within the team made up of returning sophomores and freshmen, Wong expects sophomore forward Mary Afuhaamango, sophomore guard Stephanie Truong, and freshman guard Jazmine Holmes to assume leadership roles.

“Stepping out of high school, many of these young women are used to scoring most of their team’s points,” Wong said of the new freshman. “Now, they are on a team with a diverse set of talented players working together to be successful.”

With a record of 26-8, 2007 was one of the most successful seasons in school history, even though it ended in disappointment after losing in the first round of the state championships. Now, with a new crop of talent and experienced post players, the Rams are expecting to make this season their best yet.

“As always, expectations are always high with our sophomores because they know what to expect with 30 plus games under their belt. However, I am also very optimistic about our new talent and their ability to contribute to the team’s success right away,” said Wong.

As their opener in the Pasadena Tournament on Nov. 7 draws nearer, the motivation of the team appears to to centered on a common goal: “We’re not going to get to the very end and come up short,” sophomore guard Stephanie Truong said. “My personal expectation? To win.”