The Yuba College women’s basketball team was rewarded for their winning season (16-14) with a first-round playoff matchup with No. 15 Merced College last weekend, the first playoff appearance in over 30 years. The team finished the regular season with a bang, beating Sierra 64-62, another first in team history.
Marie Nygard, who scored a double-double in that game (23 points and 13 boards), finishes as Yuba’s leading scorer, averaging nearly 18 points per game. Nygard, as well as freshman Sarah Webster, were named to the all-conference team.
This season’s team has met the expectations that Coach Susan Crebbin set for them before the season: to win fifteen games.
When comparing last year’s team to this year’s team, Nygard said that this year’s team doesn’t breakdown mentally as often as it did last year.Another leader this season was freshmen guard Sarah Webster.
Webster was named the player of the year during her junior year while she attended Sutter. With the 49ers, she brought valuable scoring and great defense.
Another great asset to the team this year was freshmen forward Rachel Barker who used her great post moves to score at will most of the time. The 49ers will depend on her to do more scoring next season.Along with an influx of freshmen players on the team came inexperience and other challenges.
Before the season started, Coach Crebbin’s biggest concern was about team chemistry. She wasn’t sure how long it would take for the entire team to gel as one with so many newcomers.
Another concern was the health of the team. Late in the season, the 49ers two point guards and key ball handlers, Erin Cunningham and Danielle Downer, went down with injuries.
The two injuries were very apparent when the 49ers faced Delta College on February 8. The 49ers were pressured and pressed throughout the game and were blown out.
The good news is that both point guards are back and healthy and ready for the playoffs.
Next year’s team looks to improve even more with so many players returning. Coach Crebbin has also been trying to recruit more players from the area.
Crebbin has done an excellent job in taking this young group to the playoffs. Her players showed up to every game prepared and it showed with the successful season they had.
Coach Crebbin mentioned that for her team to be successful in the upcoming playoffs, the bench is going to have to step up, like they have been doing all season for the 49ers.
Yuba faces a tough Merced group that boasts a winning 17-12 record, and they took the Central Conference with a record of 11-1. A Yuba win would pit them against No. 2 seed Butte (28-4) in the second round.