By Seth Haygood
A dominant performance on the glass and active defense were key for the Riverside City College women’s basketball team’s 72-57 win against MiraCosta College on Feb. 22.
This was the teams’ first round matchup of the California Community College Athletic Association Regional Championships.
Throughout the game RCC proved to be the more prepared team by out rebounding the Spartans and limiting turnovers.
“We’ve dominated the glass the whole season,” head coach Alicia Berber said. “But tonight it felt like we got knocked around down in there so it didn’t really seem like it, but that’s just something we focus on. Our two keys to the entire season is defense and rebounding.”
Notably, freshman guard N’Dya Parks scored 20 points with a career-high 5 steals, while freshmen forward Janara Williams posted a 14-point and 13-rebound double-double.
“[Williams] killed it. That’s why we started her in the second half,” Berber said. “For her to have a double-double like that, as a freshman, in a playoff game, huge.”
Riverside took charge of the first quarter and never looked back. RCC won almost every major stat category there is, overpowering MiraCosta on both sides of the ball.
Despite a huge size disadvantage, it didn’t stop the Tigers from out rebounding MiraCosta 49-37.
“At the end of the day, size don’t matter,” Williams said. “If you have the heart and you’re just locked in, size doesn’t matter.”
Throughout the entirety of the game, RCC kept running a half court press on defense which put MiraCosta’s offense on it’s toes every single play.
“That was definitely part of the game plan. I think when we play defense we can beat anybody,” Parks said. “And that’s just the goal. To lock up whoever I’m guarding.”
Bench points were huge for the Tigers, outscoring MiraCosta’s bench 25-14.
RCC was able to avoid giving up large runs in the second and fourth quarters by winning the turnover battle and changing strategies.
“We just tried to refocus. We’ll call timeouts, or have little group meetings,” Parks said. “Lock in, try to stop the person who started that run and usually when we stop the person that started it initially, then we start to get back into our flow.”
The RCC women’s basketball team will face the Long Beach City Vikings in the second round of the CCCAA tournament on Saturday Feb. 25.
“[We have to] play defense and rebound,” Berber said. “We didn’t really look too far ahead, but I know they’re a tough team in a tough conference but I think we’ll be a good matchup.”