'Local Talent' boosts Sierra College women's hoops
All season long the Sierra College women’s basketball team used balanced scoring, strong defense and hustle as the key ingredients on their way to sharing the Big 8 Conference championship with Santa Rosa.
So, it wasn’t too much of a surprise in their California Community College State playoff opener last Friday night that the Lady Wolverines once again checked in with another steady effort.
“We’ve had great balance all season long and on Friday we were able to continue it,” said Sierra College coach Brandie Murrish on her team’s opening 89-67 rout of Mendocino College. “The girls have been playing well and a lot of it because we’re so balanced.”
The win for the No. 3 North seed Lady Wolverines, 22-7, vaults Sierra into Wednesday’s second round match-up against Ohlone of Fremont, the No. 6 seed. Sierra will be trying to reverse a 48-45 loss suffered at the hands of Ohlone back on Nov. 10, the team’s first game of the season.
“We had a look at a three to tie that first game with them,” said Murrish. “Hopefully we can turn it around on Wednesday.”
In Friday’s win over Mendocino, Sierra received a 27-point evening by guard Kirstie Williams (Bella Vista), 17 more from Kayla Reeves (Placer), 15 by Joie Camalo (Rocklin) and 14 from Michelle Walker (Colfax). In the victory, that quartet combined for 12 three-point baskets.
“We’ve been shooting well and we hope we can continue it,” said Murrish about the Lady Wolverines who are rated 10th in the state JC poll and fourth in Northern California. “It would be nice to get a shot at the Final Four.”
To do that, Sierra would have to defeat Ohlone on Wednesday and then get past the winner of Wednesday’s Fresno City-Merced game. The next round will be played on Saturday at the home of the higher seeded remaining team.
Mussish notes that one of the big pluses with her squad this season is that the Lady Wolverines have been winning with local talent.
“The purpose of junior college basketball is for schools to provide local athletes with a place to play,” said Mussish. “That’s always been a big selling point here and it’s working.”
Walker, who averaged 10.7 points a game for the Lady Wolverines and Reeves (9.3) were both named to the all Big 8 Conference team this year with Walker going on to also earn third team all-state honors.
“It’s been pretty cool, “ said Murrish. “We’re using local kids and winning. It says a lot about girls basketball in this area.”