Women’s basketball guard moves states to continue her passion of basketball


Ryan Lorenz

Ashley Gonzalez after her game against Lassen Community College. Gonzalez is co-captain and point guard for the CRC women’s basketball team.

Adversity is something that team co-captain and freshman point guard Ashley Gonzalez has had to face throughout her life.
Gonzalez paved a way to continue and play basketball in college even though it required her to leave her home state of Texas and travel to California, which she had never been to before.
Gonzalez’s love for basketball began in the sixth grade. She said that she was waiting outside shooting hoops as her brothers were practicing for their football team and a basketball coach saw her.
That coach happened to be the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Zan Holmes Middle School and convinced Gonzalez to join.
“From there, I’ve never looked back,” Gonzalez said.
In her final year of high school, Gonzalez played in a game against Thomas Jefferson High School. Gonzalez said this game is a memory that still sticks with her to this day because it was the last game her grandmother was able to attend before passing away in August 2021.
“I never took her for granted,” Gonzalez said. “Just seeing her in the stands was one of those things that I will always remember.”
After high school, Gonzalez attended Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas and planned on joining the basketball team.
She had tried out for the team, but with a large preset roster, the odds were against her.
“They had fired the old (coach) when the new one came and she had brought like five or six girls,” Gonzalez said. “There were like 17 girls on the team and I didn’t make it.”
Refusing to give up on basketball, Gonzalez joined an Amateur Athletic Union team. She also reached out to coaches around the country with hopes of joining their team.
“Last summer, I tried contacting coaches, but none of them got back to me,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said her morale was low, but her parents and family told her to “keep her head up and to keep on moving.”
Her AAU coach at the time happened to know Interim Head Coach Samuel Kirby, who had just got a job as the head coach for the women’s basketball team at Cosumnes River College. Kirby was interested to see what Gonzalez could bring to his program.
“I got a girl out here who just wants to play,” Kirby recalled what his friend told him. “I talked to him the next day, I talked to Ashley, her brother, her dad and we just figured it out and got it done.”
At 19 years old, Gonzalez drove from Dallas, Texas, to Sacramento, California, with her parents to follow her dreams.
Gonzalez said she had “mixed emotions” when arriving in California.
“I was happy and excited to be able to keep doing the thing I love, which is playing basketball and continuing studying, but I also felt alone,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said being far away from her family was tough mentally and not knowing anyone made things even more difficult.
“The first couple weeks were lonely, but as I grew closer to the team, it started to feel more like home,” Gonzalez said. “I’m grateful to them for making me feel welcomed.”
Throughout practice or during a game, Gonzalez can be seen explaining to teammates verbally and physically how to improve or fix a mistake they made.
“She’s a funny jokester, but when it’s time to be serious, she’s serious,” team co-captain and starting forward Annette Vasquez said. “She’s very caring even though she looks like she’s very tough.”
Keiyana Dillard, an assistant coach of the women’s basketball team at CRC, shared a story where Gonzalez and another teammate had helped her with a renovation task. This moment stood out to Dillard because it took her by surprise because she was not expecting any help.
Gonzalez told her she would be back the next day, but Dillard told her she didn’t have to.
“I hate not finishing things,” Gonzalez said.
Dillard said she believed Gonzalez’s response epitomizes who she is. Never giving up, always helping people and getting the job done.
Gonzalez is unsure what her future holds, but she currently plans on going to a university in Texas and continuing her basketball career after she is done at CRC.
“I actually plan on going back home if I get the chance, but if not, I think California is the place to stay,” Gonzalez said. “Wherever they make me feel like home is where I’m planning on going.”