BC women basketball off to a 4-1 start in WSC

Mayan Lara

Jason Reed, Sports Editor

The Bakersfield College women’s basketball team finished the months of November and December with a below .500 record of just seven wins and eight losses.

January has been a different story.  BC has started conference play and is off to a 4-1 start.

“I feel like we’re really improving and doing some nice things,” BC coach Paula Dahl said about her team’s performance over the holidays.  Dahl also talked about how impressed she is with the way that her team has been working to get better.

BC suffered a major blow back on Nov. 30, when freshman guard Claesey Tarver tore her ACL in the Santa Ana tournament against San Diego Mesa. Tarver will miss the remainder of the season and will receive a medical redshirt, so that she’s able to return next season as a freshman.

BC took its first conference loss Jan. 16, at College of the Canyons, falling 80-65 to the Cougars.

“A lot of teams we’re playing, we’re really undersized but we use our athleticism and we outrebound some of these teams at times,” Dahl said on the team’s effort to comeback and tie the score against Canyons, when her team went down by 13 points.

Forward Sabrina Lopez finished the game with 14 points, going 12-for-15 at the free-throw line.  She was BC’s leading scorer off the bench.  Sophomore guard Haley Huntington led the Renegades with 16 points and shot a team-high 40 percent from the three-point line.  Guard Brittney Smith recorded a double- double, with 13 points and 10 rebounds.  BC will play Canyons again Feb. 9 at BC.

On Jan. 23, the Renegades played host to LA Valley College (13-8), and came away with a 55-49 win.

Despite a woeful 29 percent shooting from the field and 55 percent at the free-throw line, going 16-for-29, BC managed to overcome a late surge by the Monarchs.  With the win, BC improved to 3-1 in conference play, tying them with Canyons, which holds possession of first place due to an early conference victory over the Renegade back on Jan. 16.

BC led LA Valley 26-21 at the end of the first half.  Guard Haley Huntington made all three of her three pointers in the first half and was the leading scorer at halftime with nine points off the bench.

“I think most people consider LA Valley the best team in our conference.  That was a huge win for us, I knew we needed to get them and get them at home,” an emotional Dahl said on how big the win was.

“I’m just really proud of my kids, great team ball and it was total team effort.”

LA Valley open the second half on a 10-5 run and tied the game at 31. After a timeout, BC went on a 9-5 run and led 40-36 with 9:31 to play in regulation. BC took its biggest lead of the night at 11 with 4:11 remaining, and seemed as if they were going to pull away with the game.  LA Valley refused to go away, and sparked a 9-0 run and was down only six with 2:50 remaining.

“We panicked a little bit, but not enough to let them comeback in it,” Dahl said on her team’s will to stay strong and pull out the victory.

“I was just excited for my kids that we got this and we stayed strong even though they made a run at us, we held strong down the stretch and took care of business.”

LA Valley cut BC lead to three with 1:10 remaining.  Prior to a BC timeout, forward Brittney Smith fouled guard Lydia Pope of LA Valley.  After the timeout Lydia missed two free throws and was able to secure her second miss with an offensive rebound. After another miss basket, the Monarchs had to intentionally foul the Renegades.

Sophomore guard Emilee Parks shot just 2-for-12 and 0-for-5 from three.  But her two baskets couldn’t have come at a better time for BC, as she knocked down two critical shots in the closing minutes for her team.

BC missed five straight free throws and LA Valley missed an uncontested three pointer with another chance to tie the game and possibly send it into overtime before BC hit its final three free throws to close out the game with a 55-49 win.

“We rebounded a lot better in the second half, I was concerned about the first half and still trying to teach them the right position of that weak side board, because it’s so important for us,” Dahl said of her team’s effort on rebounds.

BC finished the game with 44 rebounds.  Brittney Smith led the Renegade with 13 rebounds.  She also recorded nine points and six block shots, nearly coming away with a triple-double.

Freshman guard Khiylah Dean finished the game with a team high 12 points, going 2-4 at three point line and recorded five steals for the Renegades.

On Jan. 23, the Renegades continued their winning ways with a 48-30 blowout win over (11-9) Citrus College, who fell to 0-4 in the Western State Conference.

BC shot only 19 percent in the first half, going just 6-31 from the field and trailed 18-20 at the half.  Brittney Smith led BC, with 15 points.  She collected all of her points in the paint, going 7-13 at the free throw line.

The Owls went on a 13-0 run after trailing 18-7, and took a two point lead into halftime.

The second half was a different story for Citrus, as they could only manage 10 points on 3-for-29 shooting, including 4-for-6 at the free throw line.

“We stopped playing individual basketball and we played team ball,” Dahl said when asked what the team did different in the second half, holding Citrus to just 10 percent shooting.

“At halftime, they talked about how they were letting their frustration get the best of them, and they didn’t in the second half.”

BC switched into a 2-3-zone defense in the second half, due to the dominance inside by 6-foot-2-inch forward Jaelyn Wilson, who put up 10 first half points in the first half.  She was held in check in the second half on just 1-4 shooting and couldn’t seem to get by the Renegades tough second half defense.

“If we’re not in as a team we can’t win, and we showed that the first half.  Every night you never know who’s going to be our best player or who is going to come up with the big plays,” Dahl said.

With the win, BC improved to 11-9 and 4-1 in the WSC, tied with Canyons for first place.  BC will play its next game Jan. 30, at West LA College.