Women’s team set to tip off season

Posted Nov. 7, 2007

Danielle Lampkin
Staff Writer

After the great success of last season, the La Verne women’s basketball team is approaching their 2007-2008 season as a competitive team to watch.

Coming back after a winning record of 12-2 in conference and 19-7 overall, gaining them the title of the 2006-2007 Southern California Intercollegiate Ath­letic Conference champions, the Leopards would not mind securing the title for another season.

“We have a lot of talent, good height and great conditioning to prepare us for a great year,” said freshman center Sonia Morales.

Returning for her 14th season as head coach, Julie Kline will begin the season with a 14-player roster.

Among those on the team are seven returnees, which include captains Marissa Raya and Lindsey Shiomi, Fernanda Morales, an incoming transfer from San Diego, and four freshmen.

Raya was named West Region third team by www.d3hoops.com last season while junior teammate Trenecca Jones comes back for her third year.

Jones returns this season to ULV after earning herself the 2006-2007 SCIAC Player of the Year Award and the West Region Player of the Year awards last season.

Hoping to join forces with Jones and sophomore Corinne Watkins are freshmen centers Jessica Dempsey and Morales who will bring added height and bulk to accompany the Leopards’ cohesive unit.

Continuing to shine into her junior year, Shiomi will be joined up with freshmen guards Ashley Paul and freshman Mayra Dueñas in the backcourt in addition to returnee Kayleen Kaaiai, a sophomore guard from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Building a strong foundation is what Kline is known for, and she has added athletes that have something to offer toward a winning season.

It has also allowed her to mold these student athletes into a team.

“The coaches are really good, our team is learning a lot due to them,” Morales said.

Taking one game at a time has also been made very prevalent in Kline’s coaching style.

Preparing a team for a season that consist of daily practices, weekly games and most importantly the effortless hours that go into being a student can be tiresome to these women basketball players.

“It is like I say every year, we really just focus on taking one game at a time and going from there,” Kline said.

Considering the expense benefits for travel, the women’s basketball team also includes fundraising, which also functions as a strong team builder before season play.

The coaching staff has followed the lead of the University by being dedicated to the development of the student athlete to its fullest.

Recently having played their first season in the newly renovated Frantz Athletic Court, the team has been given the opportunity to also be distinct in their college basketball venue.

A variety of games against regionally and national ranked opponents have allowed returning players the opportunity to compete in top tournaments and new players the chance to play.

The Leopards have a favorable schedule as they enter the regular season.

They will host 13 home games this season in addition to the season opening tournament.

At the end of December, the Leopards will host five consecutive home games against non-conference opponents, including La Sierra and Chapman.

“I feel really excited and I’m looking forward for our season,” said senior guard Jennifer Strycula.

Being that ULV has been building into the prominent team that they are today, they are looking to seize the opportunity to remain the SCIAC champions with their first conference game against Occidental on Jan. 10 at home.

“The mentality and conditioning of our team is very strong, we look strong enough to take conference two years in a row,” Duenas said.

The Leopards will officially tip off their new season on Nov. 16 when they co-host the Pomona-Pitzer-ULV Tourna­ment.

Danielle Lampkin can be reached at dlampkin@ulv.edu

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Women's team set to tip off season

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