After the 2014-15 season ended sooner than the women’s basketball team and coach Paul DeBolt would have liked, this year’s Comet squad is eager to right some of the wrongs that plagued the team last year.
Without First Team All-Conference guard Ahjahna Coleman, who left to play at the University of Maine-Fort Kent, CCC is left in the capable hands of six returning sophomores led by First Team All-Conference forward Jacqie Moody.
Moody averaged nearly 18 points per game for the Comets last year and is now leading California community colleges in field goal percentage, helping propel CCC to an early 7-3 record.
“We prepare hard every day, but some days are tougher than others,” Moody said. “We have been breaking each other down in practice for so long that now we are ready to break down other teams.”
The women’s basketball opened its preseason by winning the Los Positas College Tournament in Livermore on Nov. 12, 13 and 14.
With talent-fueled expectations, CCC cruised to a 90-53 victory over Cuesta College, which advanced the team to the semifinals against Modesto Junior College.
After soaring past Modesto, the Comets beat the College of the Redwoods in the championship game 103-74.
“We are turning into a solid full-court defensive team. We’re intimidating in our press,” DeBolt said. “We are also shooting a strong 30 percent from the 3-point line. Both are a bit of a surprise.”
Moody started where she left off last season tallying 20 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the initial contest. Comet freshmen Destanee Alexander and Julian Robinson also scored in double digits in the first game.
The 2015-16 Comets stand to be a match-up nightmare for other teams in the BVC.
Touting one of the most imposing players in conference (Robinson) with a sweet touch from the perimeter, teams will have to honor her shot leaving Moody ample space to control the low block.
At Las Positas, Robinson drew defenders out and showered mid-range jump shots over their outstretched arms.
The strategy worked as designed allowing Moody and freshman forward Kaylonii Bardell ample space to put back rebounded misses or swing the ball to perimeter shooters.
“We just want to remain composed and never feel inferior to any team for any reason,” sophomore Daizah Pounds said. “I don’t want us to submit to any team nor change who we are.”
Against Modesto, the Comets shot, rebounded and defended their way to owning the lead from beginning to the end of the contest.
The Pirates were prevented from getting the ball across half court several times in the first half due to CCC’s defensive pressure.
The Comets’ run a frantic style of full court pressure that forces primary ball handlers into getting the ball out of their hands sooner than they would like.
Offensively, the Comets are paced by the high-energy play of sophomore guard Tynisha Adams who averaged 16 points over three games.
“We are a hungry team,” sophomore guard Sydney Vidal said. “We are tired of playing against each other — we need some fresh meat.”
In the deciding game of the tournament, seven Comets scored in double figures, with two players, Robinson and Pounds, earning double digit rebounds as well.
The squad is still gelling as a team as most of the players are used to being the focal point of their respective basketball teams in previous years.
“They’re used to being able to do what they want to do. It’s different in college, but I’ll still take 7-3 at this point in the season.” DeBolt said.
Sitting atop the BVC with a 7-3 record weeks before conference play begins, the balanced Comet squad is more than capable of making a better run for the postseason than it did last year.