By Monique Larkin
By Monique Larkin
Passion can separate those who want to make it in the world and those who do not.
This may not be the case for some students here at Riverside Community College, but may be the case of a student who is seeking a possible career as a professional women’s basketball player.
In particular, Shavonne Smith, a guard on the RCC’s women’s basketball team and more recently, its leading scorer.
Recently, RCC’s women’s basketball ended its season with a bang as it celebrated its post-season awards.
With Alicia Berber being named Southern California coach of the year and Smith being called to play for the all-star first team, any women’s basketball fan would agree that these awards could not have been given if they did not sweat and give tears for the love of the game.
During Smith’s season this year, she collected a total of 1,381 points, naming herself the first to score so many points during her career as a RCC female basketball player as well as breaking her own coach’s record of 1,280 points. Smith also broke Berber’s record of points scored in a single season. Berber scored 983 points in a single season, and Smith scored a total of 831 points in the season that the Tigers just finished.
Smith said that her “record breaking” was announced during one of the games and that it did not affect her much; she kept playing her game.
Then there is the million dollar question of how Smith felt about breaking two of her coach’s records.
“It’s just pretty much basketball,” she said simply with no ego.
Smith possesses passion and a desire for the game which she knows will open doors of opportunity for her.
“I have been playing basketball since I was 7 years old,” Smith said. “I was a tomboy growing up. I’m just doing what I love to do.”
Berber, who is a former player of the RCC’s women’s basketball team and has been coaching for 8 years knows, exactly how it is when it comes to loving what you do.
“RCC is in my blood,” Berber said. “I love coaching at the junior college level. I love RCC and everything about it.”
Smith hopes to “make it” to the professional level. As for now she settles for transferring out of RCC and into a Division One university where she can test her feet in the water there.
“I think that coming out of high school to play basketball was the best decision for me,” Smith said.
In a diverse team of women, anything is possible.
Attitude and maturity levels can fluctuate in any situation and occasion as both women pointed out on and off the court. They agreed that this season was better due to the team’s attitudes change and Berber said that they all have more experience from last year’s season.
However, Berber said the college remains supportive of their team despite some despondency the team faces from time to time.
“We have huge support,” Berber said as she explained that RCC President Daniel Castro even sent them a fax at the semifinals as a sign of support and that the Digital Library sets specific times aside for the players to study.
Berber also supports her players as Smith relayed.
Smith continued to say that she still remains close to her coach and that nothing has changed between the two of them.
“We have just been on the same page as one another,” Smith said.