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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

High hopes for hoopers: Women’s basketball

After winning their conference and reaching the NCAA Championship tournament for the ninth time in the past 11 years, the Chico State women’s basketball team just wants one thing this season.

They want to do it all over again.

The team, fresh off of a 20-6 record in the 2012-13 season, has gone back to work this year determined to put a winning season together.

Head coach Brian Fogel, entering his sixth season with Chico State, said winning the California Collegiate Athletic Association title is always the goal. To get back to that point, Fogel said, the team will rely on the leadership of four seniors.

“These seniors that have played together, that were thrown in the fire when they were freshmen and sophomores, they have done a great job of making the program what it is today,” he said.

The team’s success all starts with senior point guard Courtney Hamilton, a four-year starter who led the CCAA in assists and was a first team All-CCAA selection in 2012-13, Fogel said. Hamilton will be the catalyst for the entire offense, Fogel said.

Joining Hamilton in the backcourt will be fellow senior guard Jazmine Miller, another first team All-CCAA selection who led the team in scoring at 12.8 points per game. Miller’s offense and ability to make things happen in the open court will be key for the Wildcats.

The leaders up front for Chico State will be senior forwards McKenzie Dalthorp and Analise Riezebos, who were the team’s top  rebounders a year ago. Dalthorp will give the team a physical presence under the net, while Riezebos will run the floor and continue to be a strong rebounder, Fogel said.

While the actual lineup has not been chosen, Fogel said all four of these players will play a big part in a successful season.

“With those four coming back, they all played significant roles last year,” Fogel said. “We look for them to do the same thing again this year.”

Joining these leaders are some new faces, including a trio of transfers. Michelle Walker, a junior transfer from Sierra Community College, will add versatility as an athletic post player that can run the floor well. Sarah Rebibo, a junior from Citrus Community College, will be slotted as Hamilton’s backup. And Jessica Palmer, who is recovering from two ACL tears, will have an impact on the team as well.

The new additions to the team have been meshing well with the veterans, Hamilton said.

“The team looks good. We have a lot of new people but they are developing well with the returners,” Hamilton said. “I think we are going to be great, we are just developing that chemistry first.”

Miller said the team could be even more athletic this year, with athletic returners combined with quick new players.

“This year we will be more athletic and we will definitely be faster,” Miller said. “We have post players that can really get down the floor and some incoming people that are quick too.”

The team will look to break into the open court, but its biggest challenge will be leading up to that. Defending in the half court will be pivotal if the team wants to play fast and get fast break opportunities, Fogel said.

The league will be tough fro m top to bottom, but reiterated the goal of another championship, Fogel said.

As long as the team is prepared for every game, they will have a good opportunity to repeat its success, Miller said.

“We can’t rely on being a team one day and not being a team the next,” she said. “Every game is the biggest game of the season.”


Nick Woodard can be reached at [email protected] or @nwoodard25 on Twitter.

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