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Womens basketball goes to State

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By Kevin Casteneda

Jessica Burnette goes for the ball during one of the many rigorous practices that prepare the team. (Chris Ullyott)

By Kevin Casteneda

If struggling means winning, then the RCC women’s basketball team doesn’t want to play perfectly. Of course coach Alicia Berber really wouldn’t like each game played with struggles in the first half. But the Tigers came out with a win against the Cuesta College Cougars, which pleased Berber.

“We could have played a lot better in the first half. But they really picked it up in the second half to get themselves out of trouble,” Berber said.

The Tigers started of slow, not really connecting with the basket, shooting only 31 percent from the floor in the first half. They had team play, but none of their plays were executed to make a shot.

The second half the Tigers stepped it up, and proved that they deserved to be in a playoff game, competing for a chance to get to the state finals. They outscored the Cougars 45-15 in the second half, shooting 48 percent from the floor. They were also able to hold Cuesta to 19 percent shooting (4 of 21) from the floor in the second half.

“We really started playing in the second half, which was good enough to get the win,” Berber said.

The next step for RCC was to look at their future playoff opponent, Santa Barbara Community College, which they played on saturday night. The team delivered a 76-53 victory. With the win over Santa Barbara, the Tigers are on their way to the state finals as the south’s No. 2 seed to face the north’s No. 3 seed, Santa Rosa.

“We are playing game by game. Our next opponent is going to be Santa Barbara. We have to prepare for them, and get it done. Hopefully that will get us to state,” Berber said when asked what she expected from the final games of the playoffs.

The Tigers are led by sophomore guard Shavonne Smith. Smith is looking to become the first women’s basketball player to score 1,300 points in her college career. She passed the RCC record for scoring, which was held by coach Alicia Berber, at a mark of 1,280.

The RCC women’s basketball team is now one step closer to an ultimate victory, and a claim of the best basketball team in the land. They will need to continue the same level of play to compete versus all the other teams of California. The finals will be held in the Selland Arena in Fresno. The women hope to reach the arena with plenty of wins under their belt , so as to bring the much desired championship plaque back to RCC.

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