Camille Roberts and Jasmine Washington are Warriors on the court, teammates on the Women's basketball team at California State University, Stanislaus.
Attend a game and you'll likely see Washington pass and Roberts catch and shoot on a frequent basis. The two juniors have emerged as key players on this year's team and have developed good chemistry despite playing only eight games with one another under the Warriors banner.
But while Roberts and Washington's dynamic as teammates might be fresh and new, they are far from unfamiliar with each other on the court. In fact, before either played a single minute of collegiate basketball they shared hours on the court in high school — as opponents.
“We were definitely rivals,” Washington said.
“Yea, we were rivals for sure,” Roberts added.
Yes, before Roberts and Washington's basketball careers brought them to Stanislaus they frequently squared off in rivalry games for their respective schools, Turlock High and Pitman High, where Roberts led her Bulldogs to back-to-back Central California Conference championships and Washington led her Pride to consecutive second place finishes their junior and senior years.
“I don't like Camille, Camille does not like Jasmine,” Washington laughed as she explained their relationship in high school.
“I think it's just that whole cross town rivalry. It's just ingrained in your mind. Both of us are super competitive, we don't want to lose,” Roberts said. “We weren't friends at the time, but now we're definitely friends. Now we're teammates. We love each other; we're family.”
Becoming family is a notion neither player would have expected back in 2011 when their competitive clashes on the court ended with their graduation from high school. Taking divergent paths, Roberts went to Modesto Junior College and Washington went to Cal State L.A. where they continued to play basketball. As far as Roberts and Washington were concerned, their time sharing a court together was over.
Washington went on to red-shirt her freshman year at Cal State L.A. before transferring to Chabot College where she earned first team All-Conference honors. Roberts missed most of her freshman year as a pirate due to an ACL tear before making a comeback run her sophomore year. By the 2013-14 season the wheels were in motion for a reunion of the former rivals as they both signed to play for Stanislaus, though an injury to Robert’s other knee during her final season at MJC would force her to red-shirt her first year at Stanislaus.
“Sitting out a whole year, that really helped me get a feel for how coach coaches, how the program works, how he runs everything,” Roberts said. “It allowed me to mentally prepare for this season.”
While Roberts recuperated from her injury, Washington averaged 10.9 points per game through 26 games and finished her first season as a Warrior as the team’s third-best scorer.
“I was a driver last year, and mid-range, but this year coach is trying to have me take a lot more shots at the three-point line,” Washington said.
Now, eight games into the season, Washington leads the team in scoring with 98 points while Roberts sits as the team’s second best scorer with 79 points.
“I like playing with Camille because I like to drive, so I like to penetrate a lot, and if I find her on the wing, oh it's easy money,” Washington said.
“And if I'm there and I know Jaz is open, and she has a girl on her I know she can beat almost every single time, I give her the ball and she'll score,” Roberts said. “I've always been a shooter and she's always been a driver. I remember having to defend her and just knowing I had to stay low.”
The pair lead a Warriors team bent on earning a playoff berth after finishing 13-13 overall and 10-12 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association last season. Currently 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the CCAA, the Warriors are fresh off a win at Chico State that snapped a four-game skid. With Roberts, Washington and teammates like Cassidy Sanders-Curr and Riley Holladay, the Warriors believe this is the season they’ve been building towards.
“I feel like we’re a lot more talented this year. We have a lot more basketball players, like our basketball IQ is definitely this year,” Washington said. “We have one goal and that’s to make it to playoffs.”
“We know we have so much potential. It’s just a matter of having that mental toughness to execute,” Roberts said. “We know what we have to do, it’s just a matter of getting it done.”
Roberts, Washington and the rest of the Warriors continue their quest on the court on the road against UC San Diego on Jan. 2 and will play in Turlock again on Jan. 9 when Stanislaus hosts Cal State San Bernardino.