Wildcats shake off tough season, pursue playoff spot

Assistant coach Brett Cauchi, assistant coach Ali Mollet, head coach Brian Fogel and the Chico State women's basketball team line up for the national anthem. Photo credit: George Johnston

Time for some victory.

The Chico State women’s basketball season is coming to an end with only four games remaining this season.

The ‘Cats have dealt with ups and downs, racking up 14 losses and eight wins. They don’t have many more chances to snag some wins and qualify for the Division II playoffs.

The team is ranked eighth out of 12 teams in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

Regardless of rank, junior guard Brooke Bowen thinks her team has a great opportunity to make the playoffs, she said.

“If we play the game we know and play the way we played against San Diego and Monterey Bay, we could beat anyone in this conference,” Bowen said. “I think we are ready to win some games.”

Two out of the four games left in the season are away games.

The team has performed equally well both away and at home.

First-year guard Whitney Branham likes road games and giving other teams payback on their home court, but she thinks the team plays better at home when surrounded by the support of cheering fans, she said.

The ‘Cats will have to make do without the fans in their two away games this weekend against Sonoma State and San Francisco State.

The ‘Cats have had to work on playing strategies this year with new faces added to the roster.

The team’s ability to execute plays and read the defense has been easier to learn, and Branham has caught on to most of the playing styles despite it being her first year with the team, she said.

Bowen believes the team has improved a lot this year, she said.

“I know that none of us have exactly been happy with the way this season has been going,” Bowen said. “It’s been tough, but we have been getting better, which is all that matters.”

Bowen will be entering her last season with the Wildcats next season, along with junior guard Chanelle Di Croce.

Being the only seniors, it is important for both of them to bring leadership and energy to the team, Bowen said.

The six first-year students on the team that will be moving up are familiar with how each one plays together, making them stronger as a whole, Branham said.

“I think we have all grown together and got a feel for how we all play,” she said.

Going into her final games as a first-year Wildcat, Branham hopes to keep bringing the aggression and hustle into games. The team needs to keep bringing the energy, focus and discipline, she said.

To make it to the playoffs, the Wildcats need to come together as a team in their final games. They just want to finish the year having fun, Bowen said.

“We play the best when we are under control and having fun,” she said. “Everything just flows better that way.”

Breanna Barnard can be reached at [email protected] or @beeebarnyardd on Twitter.