End of road for Renegades

Mohamed Bafakih, Sports Editor

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A quarter century of Bakersfield College women’s basketball history has been rewritten this past season.

Despite being eliminated by Irvine Valley 71-53 in the third round of the regional playoffs on March 4, it was a season where records were shattered, accolades were handed out – but above all, it was a complete team effort.

It was a core led by sophomores, but when it came time for the freshmen to pick up the slack, they would answer.

When in doubt, head coach Paula Dahl felt comfortable and confident going deep in her bench or even switching up the starting lineup constantly.

That would ultimately be the case as to why BC would start the season a program-best 9-0; a span lasting nearly two months (Nov. 1 – Dec. 28) and the only thing stopping the Renegades from finishing the preseason undefeated was Santa Ana in the third and final meeting between the two.

BC came into the 2014-15 season unranked in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) state and regional rankings.

However, it only took just over a month for them to be seeded as high as 11th in the state.

It seemed as if Dahl and Company had the perfect recipe for a perfect season.

An experienced frontcourt in sophomores Nakia Page and Rosebrooke Hunt – both six-footers who combined for 16 rebounds a game – which in large part led the team to finish the season 12th in the state in rebounds.

Defensively, they anchored the defense and altered anything and everything in their direction.

Joining them was Claesey Tarver, another sophomore who could stretch the floor and could guard the opposition’s best player on any given night.

For instance, in their first tournament of the season at Santa Ana against MiraCosta, Tarver held MiraCosta’s leading scorer Brogan Griffin to just two points. Brogan came in averaging 23.7 points per game but spent her birthday that night making an early departure from the tournament while BC would win it all; a second tournament championship in the program’s 36 years and first since 2006-07.

The backcourt was led by sophomore transfers Alex Green and Yoemma Esparza. It was a duo which can both score and distribute the ball efficiently while setting the tempo.

All five players above represented Bakersfield College in the sophomore junior college showcase at Cypress College on March 14 where college scouts took notice.

“This is the first time I’ve had 5,6 really recruitable kids… each one of them generated interest from coaches,” said Dahl.

Then you add some energy and production off the bench with players like Khiylah Dean, Marissa Jones and McKaiela Tyler just to name a few, and you’ve got yourself all the pieces to the puzzle.

Despite such a fundamental concept of Dahl’s style of play of “run, rebound, defend,” it led the Renegades to the first outright conference championship for Bakersfield College women’s basketball.

It also became the reason as to why WSC South Coach of the Year, Dahl, was able to have this team reach its pinnacle with an overall record of 23-5 while hosting a playoff game and eventually reaching the third round of the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.

 

There will only be one 2014-15 Bakersfield Renegades women’s basketball team, and it’s one that will always be remembered.

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