Tip off of the 2015-2016 season for women’s basketball at CSU Stanislaus has begun and the team is looking forward to a successful season at Ed & Bertha Fitzpatrick Arena.
Head Coach Wayman Strickland enters his fourth season at the post alongside a new assistant, class of 2009 Turlock High graduate Rachel Finnegan.
“It’s wonderful to have a local, respected individual that’s so passionate about basketball join the program,” said Strickland. “She has a great work ethic, knows what it takes to be successful in this conference and has done an excellent job developing our players so far.”
Last year the Warriors finished 9-17 overall and 7-15 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
“The CCAA is one of the best conferences in the country from top to bottom,” said Strickland. “We are looking to continue a progression to be a better program in the conference, and we have the pieces to do so.”
Three seniors return to the squad and are part of the first recruited class that Strickland had, including Jasmine Washington, Camille Roberts and Alysa Valentine.
“[We] know what to expect and have the experience to guide the younger girls on the team,” said Valentine. “We don’t want them to go into the game blind and are prepared to explain things to help them grow in the process.”
Five freshmen and a transfer student are fresh on the roster and Strickland understands that his 12 returning players are able to carry the team as far as what’s expected of them.
“You know your program is developing when you aren’t counting on new players to do anything special,” he said. “You just need them to continue to develop and work on their skills… no need for trial by fire.”
The team’s goal this year is to make it to the conference tournament in March.
“If we continue pressuring the ball like we have been and shoot a higher percentage from the free throw line and grab a few more defensive rebounds, we are likely to hit that goal of getting to the CCAA tournament,” said Strickland.
Cal State San Marcos joins the CCAA this year from being part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes and Strickland says they will be a team to watch out for.