By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Former Turlock star always knew Stanislaus was the program for her
Former THS star Samantha Bertomen has been heating up the court since beginning her college athletic career at Cal State Stanislaus. - photo by Photo courtesy of California State University, Stanislaus
Samantha Bertomen had a goal in mind when she first stepped through the doors of the Turlock High gym.
She wanted to play college basketball.
Not only that, she already had a destination in mind — and that was the Cal State Stanislaus women’s basketball team. Toward the end of her prep career, she flirted with the idea of playing elsewhere, but she admitted that she never really gave those other schools a chance.
She got what she wanted. She became a Warrior.
It was hard to miss her passion for the program last season, considering she played in all 28 games as a freshman — including nine of them as a starter. Bertomen was the type of player who hustled her way onto the court, doing anything and everything her coach, Sharon Turner-Dean, wanted her to do.
And she’s doing the same thing this season, as one of only two local players on the Warriors roster (the other being former Turlock Christian High star Erin Santiago, who is expected to see little playing time in her first season). But Bertomen’s role has evolved from just playing on the perimeter, as Bertomen is also being used in the post.
Of course, she doesn’t mind what part of the court she plays on — as long as she can contribute.
“I have high expectations for myself,” she said.
There’s no doubt about that. Turlock coach Salinda Mabie remembers the amount of time and effort Bertomen put in as a Bulldog. Yes, she was the type of player who arrived to practice first and was the last to leave. And whenever there was an open gym, she was there, working on becoming a better player than what she was hours earlier.
Here’s a Samantha Bertomen story.
“Bert’s first varsity summer tournament,” Mabie started, “she was a sophomore and quite nervous, and made some simple mistakes like having her defender take the ball away from her three times in a row. I pulled her off and asked her how many times she was going to let her have the ball before doing something about it. She was pretty upset, and I thought to myself, ‘She has a lot to learn.’ She came back the second half and we saw a different player, a determined and competitive player that was willing to fight through the ups and downs of the game.”
That determination and competitive nature has carried over to Stanislaus. Bertomen always knew she wanted to become a Warrior. She was raised on Warrior women’s basketball, she attended many home games, she signed up for the Stanislaus basketball camps every summer and made connections with the players and coaching staff.
She wanted to become a Warrior so much that she signed early, inking her name in November of her senior year at Turlock High. She could have waited until February when other college prospects signed with their respective schools, but she wanted to show her commitment to Stanislaus.
And Bertomen is a key component to this year’s Warriors team, one with high expectations. One that could return to the California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament, and perhaps move on beyond that. There’s no need to think ahead right now, as the Warriors have a long season ahead.
Their next challenge is the Friday after Thanksgiving, when Stanislaus faces Northwest Nazarene in Nampa, Idaho. And there’s no doubt that Bertomen will be contributing to the women’s basketball program of her dreams.
“When you come in as a freshman, you’re nervous and you’re trying to figure out where you fit on the team and all,” she said. “Even this season, I expect so much out of myself. I try to step up and try to be a leader, and always do a great job. You try to step up and be the best, I guess.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.