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Wildcat women’s basketball host annual Tip-Off Social

Fans, parents and players getting food before announcements start at the Tip-Off Social on Tuesday. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

Head coach Brian Fogel’s team hosted its annual Tip-Off Social that was open to the public Tuesday. Held at Bidwell Golf Course, it was a great chance for eager fans to get a look at this year’s edition of the team.

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Coach Brian Fogel introducing the 2018 Women's Basketball team at the Tip-Off Social on Tuesday. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

It was a warm and welcoming social environment. Full of happy chattering from fans and anticipation and excitement for the upcoming season could be felt in the atmosphere.

Banquet Hall at Bidwell Golf Course for the Tip-Off Social on Tuesday. Photo credit: Ricardo Tovar

There are six new editions to the team, eight returning faces and a new assistant coach Meghan de Los Reyes, who has taken over the strength and conditioning program for the team. There was certainly a need for the Wildcat fanbase to see how its new squad was shaping out.

“We have five freshmen and one junior college transfer, so right now we’re just trying to figure it all out,” Fogel said. “That’s what practice is for, it is to be able to look at different combinations and see who meshes well with one another. Within time we’ll gel.”

Gelling was also the name of the plan for the social as players got a chance to mingle and interact with fans and parents while enjoying appetizers provided by the team. When introductions began players paired up and introduced their teammate to the crowd.

Many fun facts were shared about the team, these included:

  • Forward Rachel Fielder is from Idaho. She got the chance to play in front of her family when they went to go play Idaho State University this pre-season.
  • Guard Haley Ison’s favorite part of conditioning was doing abs for 17 minutes straight.
  • Mikaela Bismillah is nicknamed “Bis” and as a freshman is excited to get her first conference win.
  • Head coach Brian Fogel is the father of Brooke Fogel, star libero for the women’s volleyball team.
  • Forward McKena Barker’s mother is Anita Barker (who was also in attendance), the athletic director for all 13 of Chico State’s sports teams.
  • Guard Shay Stark was the first recipient of Henry the chicken. Which is a rubber chicken, awarded every Monday, to the hardest worker on the team. Which is carried everywhere the recipient goes.
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    Chico State guard Shay Stark, explaining why the team carries around this rubber chicken named Henry. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

As well as introductions from the coach and team there was talk about what the off-season was like, as well as what expectations for the season are.

“Our expectations are to be able to compete for a conference championship,” Fogel said. “As long as I’m the head coach here it always will be that. We’re going to put our best foot forward, try to gel as a group and be the best version of us we can be.”

To close the event, coach Fogel gave a shout-out to Chico’s other fall sports. Praising the efforts of the volleyball team, singing the praises of both soccer teams and successes of the cross-country team in the California Collegiate Athletic Association championships.

“All the coaches offices are in Acker Gym lined-up in a row, and the bar is set really high,” Fogel said. “What makes it so fun is that Anita has created an environment for everyone to succeed. I can’t thank her enough for what she does.”

That was all for the Tip-Off social, as everyone left with optimism for what a new season can bring. The night was successful in its purpose; it has set an aura of positivity and togetherness that oozed from smiles and laughs present from the team all night.

To follow the first game of the season go to the Chico State women’s basketball schedule.

Ricardo Tovar can be reached at [email protected] or @rtovarg13 on Twitter.

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