Women's team looking to build on success

With only two returning players from a 29-3 season, one may think that the level of basketball played by the Lady Riverhawks would drop off. This was not the case with the result of the first tournament of the year for UCC. So far the pace has skyrocketed. The ladies are playing hard-nose defense, gelling well, and have thrown in new faces onto a team who are looking to continue the high level of play that Coach David Stricklin is known for.

“Our goal every year as a team is to win the NWAACC championship,” says Stricklin. “With three of the top four teams in the latest poll, (Clackamas, Lane, and UCC), we really need to stay with them.”

The Lady Riverhawks are 2-1 this year with a 79-85 loss to number one ranked Clackamas at the Clackamas Tournament. The leading scorer for UCC was Nneamaka Anyanwu with 31 points and 15 rebounds. She, Mykiea Russell, and Jameia McDuffie were the high scorers in the game for UCC. Nneamaka Anyanwu is averaging 24.33 points per game after the first three games.

One of the key points that the team has been focusing on in practice this year is high pressure defense to make up for their size. The Lady Riverhawks average a height of 5’ 6”. Teams like LCC have up to six players who are 5’ 11” or taller.

“This is the quickest and most athletic team that we have had at UCC,” Stricklin stated. “This year we have to put more pressure on the ball than in the past. My question is, ‘How do we manufacture points?’ and the answers that I see are to step up the tempo and to make up for our size and with our speed and defense.”

So far this has been a strong point for UCC, who have averaged over 17 steals a game this season.

“Last year we were bigger and lead the NWAACC in rebounding and scoring. They had the talent, but we had to push them to play harder. This year we play hard, but need to execute better. This should improve as we learn to gel as a team over the course of the season.”

With the a large amount of new faces that of had a strong showing so far this year, we can only expect more from this team that looks to be full of surprises.

The nest game home game for the Lady River Hawks will be at the Umpqua Cross-Over Tournament on December 18-20.

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.