Difficult season feeds women’s basketball team’s leadership

With only two wins out of 14 conference games, the Cosumnes River College women’s basketball team had an array of odds stacked against them this season, including having only seven players.

A lack of players was just one issue that the team faced in a season that didn’t go their way.

“Overall, it was not the season we had planned,” said head coach Coral Sage. “When we first started out, we thought we were going to do really really well and then we had some injuries [and] we had some girls decide not to play. It ended up being pretty rough towards the end and we finished with seven girls and six of them were freshman. Our best player tore her ACL in December so that hurt a lot, too.”

Sage said that a lot of mistakes were due to not having enough fresh players on the court.

“You’re playing against teams that typically carry anywhere from 13 to 16 players,” Sage said. “So there was quite a few times where, you know, we have six, seven players out there playing the entire game and they’re just rotating five in at a time so they get a whole fresh new five bodies in the game and I’ve got girls that have been out there for 30 minutes that you know at that point their legs are starting to go.”

Injuries were a big breaking point for the team. They lost their leading scorer because of an ACL injury.

Due to a knee injury, freshman shooting guard Samantha Stinson said that this season she was not herself and that she played cautiously because of her knee.

Stinson also said that the team’s lack of proper peer leadership was a factor in their tough season.

“I think we worked hard in general but we just didn’t click,” Stinson said.

But the team wasted no time post-season to begin making necessary improvements.

“I’m excited,” Sage said. “Right now we’re doing a leadership academy with our freshman who are going to be sophomores and teaching them how to be leaders because they really missed out on that from when they were freshman. They didn’t really have leaders teaching them, and so as coaches we’re taking them through a leadership program which I’m really excited about.”

Freshman guard Alyna Kanae was redshirted this season because of a hip injury, but that didn’t stop her from being a part of the team and noticing where improvements were needed.

Although the team started strong in pre-season Kanae said that “as the season progressed, there wasn’t a lot of actions behind the leadership to follow.”

She is one of six players who are participating in Coach Sage’s leadership program.

As the only one on the bench, Kanae said she noticed that the extra players on the bench are needed to boost team morale.

“Even having a bench be there to cheer the players on that are playing is a huge factor in it,” Kanae said.

The freshman got a ton of experience this year whether they wanted to or not.

“For these guys, they were thrown right into it so they had to learn basically on the fly,” Sage said. “Now that they’re going to be coming into being sophomores they have that extra experience, so I think that’s going to play out for us in the long run.”

Sage said this was her first unsatisfactory season since she started coaching at CRC 11 years ago.

“Its been a huge learning experience for me as a coach,” Sage said. “It was an opportunity for me to look at myself, too, and get better as well.”

Sage’s positive attitude and drive to perform better next season can be seen in her players as well.

“It was definitely a learning experience for sure even though our record was bad, I felt like I learned a lot,” Stinson said.

Stinson said Sage was an experienced and helpful coach because of her time playing college basketball.

Sage said that she is paying more attention to detail when recruiting to make sure future players fit their system.

“It’s not for everybody and unfortunately sometimes we learn that too late,” Sage said. “We really want to make sure from the get-go that we have the players that fit our system.”