Women’s basketball set to begin
Posted Nov. 21, 2008
Erin Brockman
Sophomore Trenecca Jones plays defense against freshman Elizabeth Gonzalez as both work to complete a play suggested by head women’s basketball coach Julie Kline in practice on Nov. 11. La Verne plays today at 2 p.m. at home against Pacific Union.

Richard Lugo
Sports Editor

Coming off two straight post-season appearances and a 2008 Southern California Inter­collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship, the La Verne women’s basketball team is set to begin its 2008-2009 campaign today against Pacific Union at the SoCal Tip-Off Classic.

The Leopards, 20-8 overall last season, return three starters from last year’s team and are excited to continue their momentum from last season.

“We have a core group of returners who are back, and that has provided leadership in the off-season and now in season,” head coach Julie Kline said. “I expect us to be competitive in each game.”

A key component for La Verne’s success this season relies on the return of its senior forward Trenecca Jones. Jones was the 2007 SCIAC player of the year, a 2008 First Team All-SCIAC selection and was named to last season’s D3hoops.com First Team All-West Region for the second straight time.

“She’s the example of what hard work can do on the floor,” junior forward Emily Carrillo said. “I think she (Jones) sets the tone, and when she goes out there and plays hard, I think everyone else knows they need to step it up to keep up with her.”

Jones averaged 17.2 points and 10.9 rebounds for the Leopards last season and tallied more than 15 double-doubles. In a game against Caltech last February, Jones became just the sixth player in school history to score more than 1,000 career points.

“Trenecca has challenged herself to get better for this season,” Kline said. “She has put in more time in this off-season than she ever has. We try to create more opportunities for her; we try to work with her as far as her individual skills go and just add to her repertoire of abilities. She’s pretty much taken it upon herself; she’s amazing.”

Kline is entering her 17th season as head coach for the Leopards and brings with her the leadership that has brought SCIAC titles to the program in 2003 and 2007.

“I think we’re quicker and stronger overall than we were last season,” Kline said. “We have more depth as far as athleticism and more depth as far as personnel. They (the players) get along extremely well; they all work extremely hard, and they’re doing all the right things to prepare and get ready for the season.”

One of the challenges the Leopards face going into the season, despite returning three starters, is their youth.

“I think because we have so many new kids—just getting them familiar with the system and comfortable within the system—it might take us a little longer to get into a rhythm,” Kline said.

Aiding Jones and Carrillo as a leader on the team is (year) guard Ashley Paul. “We’ve improved a lot since last season,” Paul said. “We obviously want to win SCIAC and go to the tournament, and we’ve gained a lot of young players who will help our program succeed. Our chemistry is pretty good, and once we get to know how everyone plays and our set plays, I think we’re going to be really good. Our biggest challenge is probably going to be playing against our SCIAC opponents. We won the tournament last year, and they’re going to be trying to come get us.”

La Verne begins its regular season today at 2 p.m. at Frantz Court against Pacific Union.

Richard Lugo can be reached at richard.lugo@laverne.edu.

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