Growth showing for women’s hoops

Mohamed Bafakih, Contributing Editor

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In what started as a season with a lot of questioning and curiosity after finishing the preseason 1-9, the BC women’s basketball team looks like they’re finally binding together after recording three wins in its last five games.

Although the Renegades (4-14 overall, 3-5 Western State Conference – South Division) let a 24-point lead slip against Santa Monica on Jan. 27, which resulted in a 73-70 loss, it was part of the learning curve that the Renegades have faced all season with their fountain of youth.

BC hasn’t led in many games all season, let alone by double digits, but what head coach Paula Dahl observed was her team “panicked” despite a hot start to the game.

“We haven’t seen a whole lot of pressure,” Dahl said. “When they (Santa Monica) went into that press it immediately threw us for fits and their physicality got to us.”

BC jumped out to a 27-11 first quarter advantage and upped that lead to 24 in the second quarter, but in the third frame the Corsairs would outscore the Renegades 28-6 to put themselves up 59-54.

Santa Monica (6-16, 2-6 WSC-South) led by as many as nine points late in the game, and they would hang on and complete the comeback.

The press caused 24 turnovers for BC and it disrupted them for possibly earning its fourth straight conference win.

“It’s the need to play consistently. We had turnovers like we haven’t had in a long time,” Dahl stated.

During the three game win streak, which featured wins over Glendale, Antelope Valley and West L.A., BC held its opponents to just 38 percent shooting, and also limited their turnovers to an average of 12.6 – nearly eight less than their season average.

The Renegades have also gained an offensive boost from Julie Olvera and Veronica Slade, as opposed to how it was earlier in the season with the duo of just Kennedy Nielson and experienced leadership from sophomore McKaiela Tyler.

Olvera went into the Antelope Valley game on Jan. 20 averaging 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and two assists per game, but had the hot hand as she had a career-high 28 points, to go along with six rebounds and five assists.

Following the upset win over the Marauders, Dahl said “They’re finally starting to realize what they can do…we’re coming together and I’m really excited about it.”

Although this season has been an uphill battle, the growth and maturity within the team has given Dahl happiness in the midst of it all.

“We’re a young team,” she said. I feel like we’re learning and growing everyday and I can’t ask for more. When conference started, everybody’s gameplan was drill Kennedy [Nielson]. You can’t do that anymore; we got five kids scoring in double figures…we have come together as a team and that has made me very, very, very happy.”

The Renegades will open up the second half of conference at Canyons on Feb. 3.

BC will return home to face L.A. Valley on Feb. 6 and Glendale on Feb. 10.

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