The Yuba College women’s basketball team is starting the 2003-2004 season with new head coach Bob Brown after first-year head coach Dave Parsh retired at the end of the last season. Although this is Brown’s first season coaching the Yuba College women’s basketball team, he has had over 30 years of coaching experience and served as assistant coach to the 2002-2003 Yuba College men’s championship team.
In addition to a new coaching staff, the 49ers have a virtually brand new team. The team has only two of the players that took last year’s team to the first round of the play-offs: Alexzandra Rico and Danielle Downer. Brown said, “We are depending on the two players from last year to carry the team till the other girls step it up.”
The team will also see two of last year’s red-shirt players on the court for the first time: Angela McCrill and Sarah Smith. Brown feels that Smith is going to be an “impact player” for this year’s team.
Brown also cited freshman Cocoa Barganier as someone who could drastically influence this year’s season. He said, “Cocoa from Wheatland High School is going to be a real asset to our team.”
The young team of nine players is going to need every play they have with the many challenges facing them this season. The 49ers lost last year’s leading scorer, Sara Webster; leading three-point shooter, Erica Short; and leading blocker, Liz Mabray. Additionally, the team is facing the obstacle of playing in the toughest junior college basketball league in Northern California, according to Coach Brown. Despite these hurdles, Brown is confident in this season’s team.
He said, “Our goal is to just improve and get better. We don’t have the size and the speed that we had last year… but I think that we have a chance to make it to the play-offs again this season.”
To accomplish this, Brown has changed the style of this year’s team. He now has the team playing at a faster pace than previous years, with the need to up the tempo due to the small size. “My style is baseline to baseline due to the size. My motto for this year’s team is ‘short and shorter,'” Brown said, pointing out that the team’s tallest player is only 5’9″. Brown explained, “We are going to have to be a very physical, run-type team.”
Yuba had their first opportunity to put that method to the test in their season opener against Gavillian College. Yuba won the game 66-60, leading by as much as 19 points in the second half. Downer led the team in scoring with 18 points, and Barganier led the defense with an impressive rebound in the second half that resulted in points for the 49ers.
Yuba begins an intense series of games on the road on Friday, November 21 at Butte College, and will not return to play at home until Tuesday, December 9, when they will play the College of the Siskiyous.