With just eight players on the squad, the Los Medanos College women’s basketball team is gearing up for their 2018-2019 campaign.
The team under the helm of LMC athletic director Richard Villegas is in a story all too familiar with the short roster size. Last season, the Mustangs ended the season with just six players. Yet they still reached the playoffs and were just short of a Bay Valley Conference title.
In the words of Villegas “Last year was last year.” and new challenges are presented to the Mustangs. They do not have any active returners, essentially having a lower than usual chemistry to beginning of the season. However, the Mustangs do bring in some players that had practiced all year with the team last season, but chose to redshirt.
“We have some good shooters and good experienced players and a couple players that are new and are trying to find themselves.” said Villegas. “We have good team chemistry, they’re going to play hard which is something my teams always do.”
“It was a little weird at first because we did not know each other, but now our chemistry is great on and off the court.” said Seuvahnia Kuka.
Kuka was a redshirt player last season who transferred from Diablo Valley College where she only started five games but was one of Pittsburg High School’s star players and the MVP of the Bay Valley Athletic League her senior year. Marahya Guinto is another player who decided to redshirt.
A pair of sophomores looking for redemption this year are Olivia Sanabria and Mercy Otumnli who both suffered injuries during their freshman year of basketball at LMC. They both took time off to heal the injuries. Sanabria made the All-Conference team back in the 2016-2017 season but didn’t finish the season due to a season ending injury.
A small roster means fewer bench players, meaning to be prepared more physically with better conditioning, but Villegas isn’t worried about that because of what the smaller team of last year went through.
But in Villegas’ extensive career as a coach, his philosophy adjusts every single year with a new team.
“One thing we always do is play hard, together and with class.” said Villegas. “We’re a little bit smaller with a lot of guards so were going to run more and shoot more and put up a lot of pressure.”
Los Medanos is in three tournaments in its non-conference play schedule, many of which they participated in last season and placed high. Villegas says in order to be the best they have to play the best.
LMC’s home opener is Tuesday Nov. 20 at 5 p.m.as against College of the Siskiyous.