Playoffs still a possibility

Leanne Cave

The Bakersfield College women’s basketball team, which is 15-13 overall and 7-3 in the Western State Conference will travel to College of the Canyons tonight to play in the most important game of the regular season for both teams. A win by the Lady ‘Gades would improve their chances of tying for first place in the conference.

“This game is huge,” said BC coach Paula Dahl. “We are currently one-half game of being in a second-place tie with Los Angeles Valley in the WSC, Canyons is in first.”

The ‘Gades are currently riding a five-game winning streak in which they have been road warriors by winning 3-of -5 contests against competitive teams within the WSC.

Athletic ability and teamwork has contributed to a dramatic turnaround for the women, who at one point of the season had a 10-13 overall record.

“The women have one of the most athletic teams they’ve ever had,” Jan Stuebbe, BC athletic director, said. “At this point they are playing well and have a chance to tie for the conference title.”

For two straight games (against Los Angeles Valley and Santa Monica), the ‘Gades have had at least four players score in double figures and have dominated the boards with consistent rebounding. They have also played tough on the perimeter, knocking down three-point shots in key situations. Led by Sharrel Washington, the defensive game has also been stellar.

“Washington is probably the most unsung hero,” Dahl said. “She is a real defensive threat. We put her on opposing star players because she frustrates them with her aggressive style of defensive play.”

The ‘Gades needed that aggressive style of play in the second half against L.A. Valley as they came back from a four-point deficit to beat the Monarchs 85-69 on Feb. 11.

Stephanie Roberts led the way for BC as she scored 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Roberts had an impressive overall performance as she took control in the second-half comeback by nailing four 3-point shots, recording seven assists and adding four steals to her credit.

Also contributing to the victory was La Shay Bagsby with a double-double. Bagsby had 14 points and dominated the boards with 19 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Neha Joshi and Sharrel Washington also scored in double figures with 10 points each.

“We became a team in the second half against Valley,” Dahl said. “I’m really pleased, this game was huge.”

The ‘Gades also had team production on Feb. 4 with four players scoring 20 or more points to help knock off Santa Monica on their home court, 100-78.

“I have never had four players score 20 or more points in a game,” Dahl said.

La Shay Bagsby led the way for BC against the Corsairs as she pumped in 28 points and controlled the post with19 rebounds.

Sarah Ortiz added 26 points while Roberts had 22 and Maddi Padgett nailed six 3-point shots in a 20-point effort. Ortiz and Roberts had 11 rebounds apiece.

Washington’s play was also a key factor in getting the road win as her defensive effort helped on the offensive end of the court.

“We’ve stepped it up on defense,” Washington said. “On offense we’ve just fine tuned our game.”

Ortiz echoed Washington’s thoughts.

“We’ve really picked up on defense, defensive transition has led to scoring points.”

The ‘Gades hope to avenge the Jan. 21 loss to Canyons and pick up a share of a conference title. Game time is at 5:30 p.m.

“We didn’t really deal with the pressure at the end of the game against Canyons,” Washington said. “We’ve been conditioning, and this time I think we’ll be ready to play until the end. We lost in the last few minutes the first game.”