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Women’s basketball looking forward to 2012 season

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By Usman Siddiqui / Staff writer

By Usman Siddiqui / Staff writer

After being named Coach of the Year by her fellow coaches at Riverside City College in 2011, Alicia Berber returns to a team for which she has high hopes of success when this season gets underway on Oct. 1.

Last season the team finished in sixth place in the Orange Empire Conference with a conference record of 4-8 and an overall record of 10-18.

Berber is presented with 13 new incoming players and three returning players.

Berber has assessed what she has seen thus far on and off the court in practice. “I like the team’s cohesiveness, they’re about the team, they’re there for one another,” she said. She listed work ethic and the ability to adapt to whatever situation is given to them as the team’s strengths. On the other hand, she listed youth as the team’s main weakness.

Berber has seen much improvement from all of her players in practice. “All of the players have improved in some way or another overall as people and their skill levels. You can’t put a heart in those kids, they work hard,” she said.

Two of these new players will have to make a quick transition, as they will jump into the basketball season from the volleyball season. Guard Josette Calhoun participated in both sports during her time in high school and will continue to show her talent in both sports at RCC. Kayla Johns is the other, contributing as a middle blocker on the volleyball team and a forward on the basketball team.

Another new addition to the team, forward Demitri Murray was named most valuable player in the Big VIII League while she was in high school.

Coming from Hong Kong, guard Wai Ngan has also come to join the group and try to elevate their success.

Coach Berber has set high expectations for all of her players and feels that her returning players have experience, that will help guide the new players. Although winning may seem like the only thing that is important, coach Berber puts priorities on other things she believes are more vital. “I expect my players to go far in life; winning is a bonus. We practice winning every day. We focus on winning every day,” she said. “If a championship comes out of it, we’ll take it but the main focus is making the players better.”

Many of the players are coming from very local schools. Calhoun is a graduate from Riverside North High School, guard Neka Hunter and forward Samantha Ratliff are graduates from Riverside Poly High School, Murray is a graduate from Riverside King High School and Christine Pascua is a graduate from Notre Dame High School who plays both the guard and forward positions.

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