Amongst waves, Wildcats finish break strong


Wildcats Isaiah Ellis Drives past Cal Poly Pomona defenders Photo credit: Julia Maldonado

The Wildcat men went 6-3 over the five-week stretch of winter break at Chico State that went from Dec. 16-Jan. 21, bringing them to 21-5 overall and 9-4 in conference.

After three straight wins, the Wildcats fell three straight games. However, these losses were frustrating after coming at deficits of 18, 18 and 23 points. The ’Cats have come back fighting, winning three straight games including a win on Jan. 13 against first place Cal Poly Pomona where their defense came up huge, and finishing with a huge 74-36 win against Humboldt State.

When asked about the how they have managed to turn it around, Wildcats leading scorer and captain Corey Silverstrom said, “We focused on our energy level for the most part. There were things offensively and defensively that we’ve worked on at practice, but it comes down to how hard we play.”

Fellow team captain Jalen McFerren echoed Silverstrom when saying, “We needed to find our identity. Being a team that plays hard, knowing we have a target on our backs we can’t let teams out hustle us.”

Corey Silverstrom defending against California State San Bernardino Photo credit: Andrew Baumgartner

On the women’s side of the ball, they had an even stronger five weeks going 6-3 to improve their record to 10-7 and 8-5 in conference.

This stretch didn’t come easy at times. The Wildcats had a big win against Cal State Dominguez Hills that saw them win 74-57 and finishing on a 22-9 run in the fourth quarter, despite committing 32 turnovers throughout the game.

Shay Stark shoots a 3-pointer against CSU Dominguez Hills Photo credit: Justin Couchot

During the eight-game stretch, senior guard Whitney Branham had three 20-point games. In addition, forward McKena Barker had two games with 10 or more points and rebounds to help lead the Wildcats.

Wildcats teammates congratulate each other after a big win. Photo credit: Justin Couchot

The basketball teams hit the road for the next week before returning home to play Cal State Monterey Bay on Feb. 1 with the women playing at 5:30 p.m. and men at 7:30 p.m.

Justin Couchot can be reached at [email protected] or @JCouchot_Sports on Twitter.