Full Disclosure: Women’s basketball look towards leaders for success
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A heartbreaking six-game losing streak finished off the Chico State women’s basketball team last year and left them with a 5-15 conference record.
The team tied for last place in its conference and had most of its problems on the road with a 1-9 away record. A lack of defense allowed other teams to snag an easy win against the Wildcats. Chico State sits third from the bottom of its conference with an opponent scoring average of 64.3 points per game.
A -4.5 scoring margin and 36 percent team shooting average hindered the Wildcats throughout the season as they failed to score and contest their opponents shots.
Although the team saw severe deficits in its scoring, the biggest detriment was the inability to score from behind the arc. Chico State made less than 30 percent of its three-point attempts, with junior guard Whitney Branham leading the team at 33 percent.
An unreliable offensive effort to help the Wildcats claw their way back into the game and a struggling defense gave way to the team’s losing streaks.
This season, the team will be playing without starting guard and forward Brooke Bowen. Bowen averaged 8.2 points per game and was a large contributor to the steal column with 1.5 per game.
The team is retaining the remainder of its players, including Branham who led the team in scoring with both quality and quantity. Branham averaged 11.9 points per game and shot 89 percent from the charity stripe.
The Wildcats also have their assist leader from last year, senior guard Sherise Porchia, to give them an offensive boost. Porchia was a CCAA leader in assists averaging 4 per game and 105 total.
The returning players this season will be critical to the team’s success as they carry over the success in its individual play. The team also acquired three new players this season, two junior transfer athletes and two first-year players.
Transfer junior forward Jo Paine and first-year forward Taki Brandon are unproven on the Wildcat roster but have several benefitting attributes to help the team. Paine transferred from Clackamas Community College where she earned the Southern Region MVP and was the lead scorer and rebounder for her team.
Brandon has yet to play at the collegiate level but earned Honorable Mention All-NCS in 2014 and 2016 and adds the ability to score off the bench for the team.
To assist with its offense, the team has recruited several scoring guards, including first-year Madison Wong. Wong attended Elk Grove High School where she led the team to a state championship and was the all-time career scorer with 13.8 points per game.
The defensive prowess of transfer junior guard Lauren Lete from Foothill College in Los Altos also gives the team an edge outside the post. Lete assisted her team in posting an undefeated season last year.
The team has several notable players on its roster who can make a big impact in the Wildcats success this year. The individual play of the team did not translate to the court last season but may spur more cohesiveness between the returning players and new recruits.
Gabriel Moreno can be reached at [email protected] or @GabeSports3 on Twitter.
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