By Stephanie Jun
By Stephanie Jun
With its first game of the season against Cerritos College on Nov. 8, the Riverside City College women’s basketball team has been preparing for its upcoming season.
“We do a lot of conditioning (to prepare). A lot of running, weight lifting, fundamental drills and maybe 15-20 minutes on just ball dribbling,” RCC center Michelle Jones said.
Basketball drills aren’t as easy as some players make it seem.
“I think the hardest drill is the fireman drill, where you can’t drop a pass or miss a lay-up,” team captain Taneika Calhoun said. “I don’t necessarily look at the practice exercises as hard or easy. I’ve got a whole different perspective of it, because whatever we do, it’s only going to make us better. If anything, I would have to say that the pyramid exercises are the hardest.”
Jones believes Calhoun is the most improved player. Calhoun modestly shifts the credit to the other three returning players this season.
“We’re filling each others’ shoes and doing our best to take us to state. We’ve got a whole new team playing,” she said.
Both Calhoun and Jones agree that the event they are most looking forward to is the Grill Crest Tournament held at College of the Sequoias in Visalia Nov. 30 to Dec. 3.
According to the players, the team ritual they have before a game is a prayer to have a blessed game with no injuries, and to do their best to communicate on the court.
Basketball practices and games have not interfered with work or other classes for either Calhoun or Jones.
“I mean, I’ve got a little girl, but she’s my biggest fan. Sometimes she comes to the practices or games, so it’s not a problem,” Calhoun said.
Jones agreed with her teammate.
“You make basketball your life, since it’s year-round,” she said.
Playing basketball started in high school for both of them.
“My brother suggested that I join basketball,” Jones said. “He said, ‘You’re tall! All tall girls play basketball!’ I was like, ‘but I don’t like basketball!'”
“My mom wanted me to join track. So I joined basketball so that maybe I wouldn’t have to, but it turns out, they’re not in the same season! So I had to play both basketball and run track!” Calhoun said with a frustrated laugh.
The things they like most about coach Alicia Berber are her sense of humor and understanding.
“She’s like a mother to us; she knows what’s best for us and looks out for our best interests,” Jones said.
If they could change anything about the team, they both agree that it would be the uniforms.
“They’re two years old. They were used last year and the year before that!” Calhoun said.
Even with depressed morale, the team looks to the coming season with strong positive drive.
“Our motivation comes from each other and our primary goal is teamwork. You can’t go anywhere with ‘I,'” Calhoun said.