Ready for playoffs: women’s basketball heads to postseason despite recent loss

Anthony Sosa, Sports Editor

Fans packed into Haehl Pavillion Feb. 20 to watch the Santa Rosa Junior College women’s basketball team [18-11, 9-5] play the No. 1 team in the Big 8 Conference, Sierra College [13-1, 24-6], on Sophomore Night. Sierra showed why they are No. 1, defeating Santa Rosa 71-56, thus sending the crowd home unhappy.

SRJC’s size was no match for the Wolverines. Down in the post, the Bear Cubs had no answer for the Wolverines, allowing them to rack up 18 offensive rebounds and 46 rebounds overall.

Unfortunately for the Bear Cubs, their successful 3-point shooting didn’t occur in this game. Bear Cubs’ guard Jenna Dunbar, who nailed a SRJC women’s basketball record nine 3-pointers in their previous game, only made one against the Wolverines.

“They obviously scout us. They were taking Jenna out of it; they were taking Brooke [Santander, Bear Cubs’ guard] out of it,” said head coach Lacey Campbell. “They were going to make us play inside.”

From the start, the Bear Cubs found themselves trailing. The first quarter ended with a 24-9 Wolverines lead. The Wolverines never looked back and the Bear Cubs trailed by double-digits for the remainder of the game.

Santander performed well for the Bear Cubs putting up 20 points. Dunbar contributed with 11 points and seven rebounds. Niambi Saint Louis also provided 11 points for the Bear Cubs.

“Their pressure really got to us,” Santander said. “We got frantic.”

A big factor in the game occurred in the first quarter when Bear Cubs’ guard Kerianne Noonan injured her knee on a play down low. Noonan leads the Bear Cubs in scoring this season with 13.9 points per game. She returned in the second quarter, but was limited for the rest of the game.

“Losing K [Noonan] hurt. Having her out for a long period of time; that’s really tough,” Campbell said. 

Despite SRJC’s tough loss, it is still headed to the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs, but still awaiting its seed and who it will face in the first round.

Campbell reassured Noonan should be fine for playoffs, mentioning she has a week to rest up before their next game.

If SRJC wants to be successful in playoffs, it needs to continue its deep shooting success, which has been crucial this season.

“We need to see who we are going to face first,” Santander said. “We need to keep working on team concepts, especially our defense.”

Coach Campbell believes the Bear Cubs have what it takes to succeed in the playoffs which will include Sierra and many other tough opponents.

“If we face them [Sierra] again I would put my money on us,” Campbell said. “I think we do a lot of good things. We are hard to play. Against most of the teams, I like our chances.”